Department of Health

What the Royal Commission said

The Royal Commission's Final Report recommended further support for people experiencing suicidal behaviour.

This includes training for workers that may come into contact with people experiencing suicidal behaviour. Target workers will include police officers, emergency department staff and family violence workers. The training will allow workers to provide more suitable and compassionate care.

Training for Victorians who work with communities was also recommended. Target workers could include sports coaches, teachers and hospitality staff. The training would support them to develop their suicide awareness and prevention skills. Training should also include programs developed for and by Aboriginal communities and organisations.

The recommendation also called for more workplace suicide prevention and response programs.

Development of an intensive 14-day support program for adults was also recommended. The program will be modelled on Scotland’s Distress Brief Intervention program.

What are the opportunities?

The Royal Commission identified a need for additional services and supports, including:

  • aftercare programs for people who are experiencing suicidal behaviour or who have attempted suicide. These should include a specific aftercare service for the LGBTIQ+ community.
  • training for front-line workers
  • training to support workforces and the community to support people experiencing suicidal behaviour
  • state-wide support for any person bereaved by suicide. This should include services for, and delivered by, Aboriginal communities
  • improved supports for people experiencing psychological distress.

What are we doing?

We are developing a support program for adults who are experiencing psychological distress.

Distress Brief Intervention is a collaborative approach to suicide prevention and support. It involves front line staff providing a compassionate response to people experiencing distress. A trained community health or psychosocial support worker will then contact the person within 24 hours. The worker can provide problem solving supports, wellness and distress management planning. They provide supported connections for 14 days until the period of distress is over.

The program has been found to assist people experiencing distress. It helps people address difficult circumstances in their lives. It equips them with tools and skills to manage future distress.

We will pilot the program in one metropolitan and one regional area. We will focus on areas that have the highest rates of psychological distress. We are working with local services and sectors, and people with lived experience of suicide in each region.

The program will be evaluated after 12-18 months.

Reviewed 17 March 2022

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