Government of Western Australia

Suicide Prevention 2020: Together we can save lives

On average on Western Australian loses their life to suicide every day in Western Australia and for every adult death, there are around 20 other people who have attempted suicide.

Suicide Prevention 2020: Together we can save lives (Suicide Prevention 2020) aims to reduce the current number of suicides in Western Australia by 50 per cent over the next decade. Launched in May 2015, Suicide Prevention 2020 is strongly evidence based and is informed by the latest research and the recommendations from recent reviews completed by Edith Cowan University, the Western Australian Ombudsman, and the Western Australian Auditor General.  Funded for $25.9 million over four years, Suicide Prevention 2020 has six key action areas for united action across communities, sectors and government agencies.

The six key action areas are:

  • greater public awareness and united action
  • local support and community prevention across the lifespan
  • coordinated and targeted services for high-risk groups
  • shared responsibility across government, private and non-government sectors to build mentally healthy workplaces
  • increased suicide prevention training
  • timely data and evidence to improve responses and services

History

The State Government released the inaugural statewide suicide prevention strategy in 2009 and invested $21 million over six years. The Western Australian Suicide Prevention Strategy 2009-13 (the Strategy) closely reflected the national Living is for Everyone framework, with six action areas spanning a wide range of activities requiring community, government, private sector and community managed sector participation.

The Strategy had a strong focus on capacity building and awareness‑raising through local Community Action Plans for suicide prevention. It aimed to provide communities with the skills, understanding and resources to increase individual resilience; reduce stigma around mental illness and suicide; identify and respond to suicide risks; encourage access to appropriate services and supports; and establish greater collaboration across services. In total, 45 Community Action Plans were delivered in 255 locations.

Agency Pledge Partnerships were another key element of the Strategy. Over 260 organisations signed up to support the 2009-13 Strategy with the aim of reducing stigma around mental illness and suicide; increasing awareness of suicide prevention issues; and promoting relevant services among their employees. It was intended that greater understanding and training around mental health issues and suicide prevention would also have secondary benefits for employees’ families, stakeholder networks, and peer or community groups.

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