Suicide prevention

Suicide affects individuals, families and communities in Tasmania and across Australia.

Primary Health Tasmania is working with communities and service providers to reduce the incidence and impact of suicide.

Tasmanian pharmacists have taken part in the Black Dog Institute’s first-ever training session specifically designed to help strengthen their advanced suicide prevention skills and build capacity to respond to people in distress.
Primary Health Tasmania supported the training as part of our ongoing work for the National Suicide Prevention Trial, which aims to develop the ability of local communities to recognise and respond to the risk of suicide.
Read more about the Hobart training session here.

National Suicide Prevention Trial

Tasmania is one of 12 sites around the country taking part in an Australian Government-funded trial, which aims to test how a community-led approaches can help reduce the rate of suicide attempts and deaths.

The three Tasmanian trial sites are:

Activity in each trial site is coordinated by a local organisation which works closely with community members and service providers: St Helens Neighbourhood House in the Break O’Day municipality, Launceston City Council in Launceston’s northern suburbs and Relationships Australia in the north west.

Each trial site is using the Black Dog Institute’s LifeSpan approach to suicide prevention – a model that combines nine evidence-based strategies to develop a “safety net” for vulnerable people in a community.

The Australian Government has provided $3 million for the Tasmanian component of the trial, which focuses on men aged 40-64, as well as men and women over the age of 65.

On 30 January 2020, the Australian Government announced a 12-month extension to the National Suicide Prevention Trial. The extended trial (July 2020 to the end of June 2021), will focus on transitioning and sustaining existing suicide prevention activity.

This comes at a time when many people may be experiencing feelings of anxiety, distress and concern in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak (read our information for community members about the COVID-19 response here) which can affect both our physical and mental health. It is important to maintain positive mental health by staying connected and engaged with people and activities that are meaningful.

Head to Health, an Australian Government initiative, has put together a dedicated COVID-19 support webpage that covers where to get the facts about the COVID-19 outbreak, tips for maintaining good mental health, information on how to access mental health services, information for parents, and how to keep older Australians safe and connected by helping them get established online.

Click here to find out more about activity happening across the three trial sites in Tasmania, and how to get involved.

Click here to download summaries of trial activity across the three trial sites, from January 2018 to June 2019.

Question, Persuade, Refer

As part of the Australian Government’s National Suicide Prevention Trial, Primary Health Tasmania has purchased licences for QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Gatekeeper Training through the Black Dog Institute.

QPR is an online education program that aims to teach people the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond following three steps: Question, Persuade and Refer.

Click here to find out how you can access the free training.


Our commissioned activity

Primary Health Tasmania also supports other local initiatives designed to reduce suicide, as part of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy.

This includes working with local organisations to provide early intervention programs for people in remote and rural parts of the state, as well as those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

We also target workers by supporting workplace training in mental health and wellbeing awareness, resilience skilling and capacity building across different industries.

Find out more about our commissioned services by exploring Our Services Portal.

Tasmanian Communications Charter

Tasmania is the first state to adopt the National Communications Charter — a unifying resource for mental health, suicide prevention, government, business, and community organisations. On a local level, the Tasmanian Communications Charter champions a safe and stigma-free approach to talking about suicide that is consistent across various branches of the community.

Primary Health Tasmania is signatory to the Tasmanian Communications Charter.

You can find out more about it here.

Mark Fishwick was relaxing at home one Saturday night when his phone unexpectedly rang. It was one of the Tasmanian Building Group Apprenticeship Scheme (TasBGAS) field officer’s apprentices, and he wasn’t in a good place.
“It was strange of him to call at that time, and I worked out that he was considering self harm,” he remembers.
Mark, who has spent the last 20 years managing apprenticeships in Tasmania, was able to use some of his own training to de-escalate the young man’s distress.
He’s lost three apprentices to suicide in his lifetime – but, thankfully, none since TasBGAS started working with OzHelp Tasmania to deliver training and support to the young workers in their care.
Read more here.


Primary Health Tasmania does not offer health services, crisis, or emergency support.

Your regular general practitioner/doctors surgery should always be your first point of call if you need medical or mental health care

In an emergency, call Triple 000 for Ambulance, Fire or Police

For health advice on health services open at night, public holidays and weekends, visit the Tas After Hours website.

The following helplines are also available for urgent assistance:

  • Mental Health Services Helpline (DHHS) 1800 332 388
  • Lifeline Crisis Help 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
  • Drug and Alcohol Counselling (DHHS – Afterhours) 1800 811 994
  • Poison Information Centre 13 11 26