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.

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 LGBTIQA+ 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 or caring for somebody experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviour. This should include services for, and delivered by, Aboriginal communities.
  • Improved supports for people experiencing psychological distress.

What are we doing?

Distress Brief Intervention

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.

LGBTIQA+ aftercare service

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer and other sexuality, gender and bodily diverse, asexual (LGBTIQA+) people are disproportionately impacted by suicide in Australia.

Although many LGBTIQA+ people live healthy and happy lives, Victorian LGBTIQA+ community members are 20 times more likely to have considered suicide and 8 times more likely to have attempted suicide than the general population.

LGBTIQA+ people can experience a range of challenges following a suicide attempt, including barriers to accessing safe and inclusive care and support. We know that these communities need a tailored aftercare service to meet their needs. Aftercare refers to the care provided to people after a suicide attempt and is a critical part of suicide prevention.

The Victorian Government is developing a new aftercare service to support LGBTIQA+ people after a suicide attempt. This service will be tailored to young people and adults, as recommended by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

The Victorian Department of Health is partnering with Impact Co. to develop this service. Impact Co. is consulting with LGBTIQA+ community members and selected service providers to help understand the needs of the community and where gaps exist. These consultations will run from October 2023 to early 2024. The broader Victorian community will also be able to provide feedback on the new service in early 2024, before it is finalised.

Statewide peer call-back service

When a person is experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviour, it can be a very worrying time for their family, carers and supporters.

Families, carers and supporters play an important role supporting people who are experiencing suicidal behaviour or following a suicide attempt. This valuable care can bring with it considerable strain and long-term stress and it is important that families, carers and supporters themselves are supported.

The Royal Commission recommended the establishment of a statewide peer call-back service where people can connect with others who understand their experience, get advice about available resources and be heard and supported during a challenging time.

The service is currently being codesigned with:

  • families, carers and supporters who have lived and living experience of caring for a person experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviour,
  • people bereaved by suicide, and
  • representatives from organisations who provide support to families carers and supporters.

These consultations, facilitated by Impact Co. in partnership with Tandem, will run from November 2023 to early 2024. A tender process to select a Service Provider to deliver the service will follow at a later stage.

While codesign is underway, Roses in the Ocean has been engaged to expand the reach of their Peer Care Companion Warmline Service within Victoria on an interim basis. This interim service is due to launch in mid-December 2023.

Reviewed 17 December 2023

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