The suicide prevention trial in Tasmania

The Tasmanian component of the National Suicide Prevention Trial runs until June 2020 and is funded through Primary Health Tasmania across three locations: Break O’Day, three north west municipalities (Burnie, Central Coast and Devonport) and Launceston.

All three locations are using 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.

It’s important to keep in mind this is a time-limited trial to test the effectiveness of a new approach – one that involves implementing a range of suicide prevention activities at the same time. It isn’t focused on reducing suicide in particular communities in the short term by putting new services on the ground.

Read on to find out a bit about how each Tasmanian trial site is taking on the challenge in their local community.

Break O'Day

The Break O’Day region extends along Tasmania’s east coast from Eddystone Point, south to Denison River, and west to the eastern portion of the Fingal Valley. It’s a picturesque part of Tasmania that lays claim to some of the state’s most scenic spots.

But the local government area’s residents – almost 30 per cent of whom are aged over 65 – have felt the impact of suicide in recent years. In response, locals have been coming together to confront the challenge of suicide since before the trial began, including through their Community Champions initiative.

It’s a proactive legacy the working group hope to build on with a range of trial activities aimed at extending the safety net across a relatively spread out population.

Establishing a bereavement support group, training locals to identify and refer people in distress, and advanced suicide prevention training for health workers in the area are just some of the items on the to-do list.

Want to get involved? Click here to get in touch with the Break O’Day working group.

Some members of the Break O’Day working group in August 2018.

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.

North west

Burnie, Central Coast and Devonport councils have joined together with clinical and community service providers to strengthen and support efforts to help prevent suicide across their local government areas.

The north west working group has chosen three crucial principles to guide their suicide prevention efforts: coordination, collaboration and sustainability.

These key concepts underpin the group’s focus on activities designed to build stronger links across the north west’s clinical and community sectors.

This means investigating issues like how people at risk of suicide are referred between services, offering training to a wide array of individuals, organisations and workplaces (including men’s sheds, aged care, frontline services and more), and working with the media to encourage safe reporting on suicide.

If you want to know more, or are interested in getting involved, click here.

Some of the north west working group members in August 2018.

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.

Launceston

For the Launceston community, the local component of the national suicide prevention trial presents an opportunity to come together to try a new approach to suicide prevention in Tasmania’s second largest city.

This willingness to pitch in is illustrated by the variety of voices within the site’s working group, which includes representatives from Anglicare, the University of Tasmania, police, medical centres, neighbourhood houses and the Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania, to name a few.

Its diversity is also reflected in the activities scheduled to take place in the region as part of trial. QPR (Question, Respond and Refer) training for emergency services workers, identifying male and seniors suicide prevention community champions, and establishing a lived experience of suicide group are just some of the initiatives the group will explore.

Notably, the Launceston trial site has a particular focus on the northern suburbs and will collaborate with the Launceston City Council to link in with existing initiatives in this area.

Do you want to get involved? Click here to find out more.

Some of the Launceston working group members in August 2018.

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.