Trigger warning: this article contains references to suicide
Suicide prevention has understandably become a more pressing issue over the past ten months due to bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.
MHPN promotes suicide prevention through its MHPN-supported networks and webinars and has responded to increased clinician and community needs in recent months.
We support seven suicide-specific networks as well as generalist networks that hold meetings related to suicide. Nearly 20 per cent of our webinar library contains webinars with suicide-related content.
As part of the 2020-2021 budget released on 6 October, the federal government announced $108 million for up to 10 additional Medicare-subsidised psychological therapy sessions each year for patients nationwide with an existing Mental Health Treatment Plan.
In addition, the broader community has recently been encouraged to address suicide prevention through World Suicide Prevention Day in September, World Mental Health Day on 10 October; World Mental Health Week from 10-17 October; and Mental Health Month through October.
Many mental health organisations and practitioners are working tirelessly to support community members navigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
MHPN is in turn responding to the increased demand for clinician professional development by facilitating network meetings that are timely and relevant, such as suicide prevention.
MHPN networks covering the topic
MHPN would like to thank all of the network coordinators for bringing together interdisciplinary practitioners striving to both improve mental health outcomes for their clients and reduce the suicide rate.
Three MHPN-supported networks held meetings in relation to suicide during August and we encourage other networks to identify potential meeting topics from the meeting information that follows.
These meetings were especially pertinent because they focussed on suicide prevention for client groups that are at a higher risk of suicide than the general population.
Adelaide African, Indigenous and CALD Mental Health Network
Topic: Suicide and Aboriginal Health
Speaker: Vanessa Browne is a Larrakian and Wulna Woman who works as a nurse practitioner at a community health organisation in South Australia. Vanessa works with Aboriginal people from all areas to improve engagement, assist in navigation through the mental health service, and work with carers, families, consumers and clinicians to understand their disorder with cultural responsiveness.
Coffs Harbour Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing
Topic: Suicide is everyone’s business
Speakers included: North Coast Primary health Network/Healthy North Coast, North Coast Area Health Service, Bellingen Suicide Prevention Initiative, Department of Education, Lifeline, Wesley LifeForce and Standby Response Service.
Sydney North Older Persons Network
Topic: Suicide in Late Life: The Impact of COVID-19
Speaker: Dr Anne Wand is a clinician researcher consultation liaison and old age psychiatrist working in older persons’ mental health at Concord Hospital. Dr Wand is a Conjoint Associate Professor at the University of Sydney and a Conjoint Senior Lecturer at the University of NSW.