The suicide prevention trial in Tasmania

The Tasmanian component of the National Suicide Prevention Trial was supported through Primary Health Tasmania across three locations: Break O’Day, three north west municipalities (Burnie, Central Coast and Devonport) and Launceston.

All three locations used the Black Dog Institute’s LifeSpan suicide prevention model – a community-led approach that is aimed at reducing suicide and suicide attempts by building the capacity of the community to better support people facing a suicide crisis.

Initially slated to end in June 2020, the Australian Government announced in January it would provide $13.4 million in 2020-21 to extend the National Suicide Prevention Trial sites for a further year, including funding to enhance the evaluation of the various suicide prevention activities across the country.

Primary Health Tasmania continues to support each trial site to further embed the lessons learned from the National Suicide Prevention Trial.

Reflecting on lessons from the Tasmanian suicide prevention trial

The Australian Government has committed to a national evaluation of all 12 regions taking part in the National Suicide Prevention Trial, to learn about what worked, what was challenging, and where future opportunities may exist.

In 2018, Primary Health Tasmania also commissioned researchers from the University of Tasmania’s Centre for Rural Health to explore how the trial unfolded on a local level, to make sure key lessons were captured within the Tasmanian context.

On March 31, 2021, key participants in the Tasmanian component of the National Suicide Prevention Trial came together in Launceston to discuss effective skills and strategies for promoting mental health and wellbeing in their local communities.

For Primary Health Tasmania, these lessons broadly fell into three categories — planning, operational work, and sustainability — and affirmed our commitment to working collaboratively with members of the Tasmanian community, including those with lived experience.

It also enriched our understanding of the co-design process — that is, what works best when working with community members and other organisations to drive suicide prevention efforts.

Moving forward, the evaluation’s insights will furnish other Primary Health Tasmania-related projects and initiatives, such as:

  • Future direction of community-based suicide prevention activity in Tasmania
  • The Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Strategy – Given the significant amount of work underway at a national level to review and develop national suicide prevention policy, it’s been decided to extend the current Tasmanian suicide prevention strategy to 2022 to enable us to consider and incorporate insights and lessons learnt from the national activity. This will ensure that the next suicide prevention strategy for Tasmania is contemporary and informed by the best available evidence. Learn more here.
  • Rethink 2020 – Tasmania’s shared mental health plan. Learn more here.
  • Working with Communities Toolkit– the key resource that outlines principles for the way we work with consumer groups and communities, and align with the seven safety and quality standards included in the Safety and Quality Framework 2020–23.

Click here to download an infographic produced by the University of Tasmania researchers summarising the state’s trial activity.

Spotlight on: The Safe Place Cafe in Break O'Day

Question: How do you give members of a local community a safe place to chat when they’re scattered up and along Tasmania’s east coast?

Answer: You put it on the road.

The Safe Place Café is a mobile coffee van that travels to a different part of the Break O’Day region for two days each fortnight.

The van is manned by a project officer and one or two volunteers who provide coffee, resources and a listening ear for locals who come and say hello.

The Safe Place Café is one of a number of community initiatives being trialed in the Bicheno and Break O’Day areas as part of the Tasmanian component of the National Suicide Prevention Trial, supported by Primary Health Tasmania.

Read more about it here.

Spotlight on: Burnie Rugby Club's Talk to a Mate suicide awareness gala

Encouraging, engaging and empowering. They’re the three words that sum up the north west suicide prevention trial site’s Doing Better Together grants.

Nominations for the grants opened in early March, with funding available to help community organisations turn their ideas for a suicide prevention or wellbeing activity into reality.

It’s all part of the Tasmanian component of the National Suicide Prevention Trial, supported by Primary Health Tasmania and including the trial site location of the Burnie, Central Coast and Devonport in the state’s north west.

One successful applicant was the Burnie Rugby Club, which used the grant funding to host their Talk to a Mate Gala, raising awareness of suicide and suicide prevention, on Saturday 11 May.

Read more about it here.

Spotlight on: Launceston's Roses in the Ocean training

What do we mean when we talk about ‘lived experience’ of suicide?
One way to define it is:

…having experienced suicidal thoughts, survived a suicide attempt, cared for someone through suicidal crisis, or been bereaved by suicide.

That’s according to Roses in the Ocean – a lead organisation for lived experience of suicide in Australia. Roses in the Ocean is dedicated to building a safe, trained and supported lived experience ‘workforce’ with the expertise and skills needed to add their voice to conversations about suicide prevention.

In April, the Launceston suicide prevention trial working group brought Roses in the Ocean to Tasmania and offered up the training opportunity to locals with an interest in building their confidence as a lived experience advocate.

Read more about it here.