Successful conclusion of the LifeSpan Newcastle trial will be officially marked today with a special event at Merewether Surfhouse, examining key outcomes and future aspirations for suicide prevention in the Hunter New England region.
More than 90 representatives from the community and local health district are expected to attend the event, which will include presentations from LifeSpan Newcastle and the Black Dog Institute.
First launched in October 2016, as one of four trial sites in NSW, LifeSpan Newcastle has brought the region together to achieve a collaborative approach to suicide prevention.
Drawing on the support and leadership of an alliance of local agencies and collaboration with over 70 individuals and more than 20 organisations across multiple sectors, the project has achieved significant outcomes throughout its duration.
According to LifeSpan Newcastle Coordinator, Dr Katie McGill, genuine community collaboration and inclusion will be one of the enduring legacies of the project.
“Having the LifeSpan trial in Newcastle has provided the opportunity to engage with local stakeholders and work together, collaboratively, to achieve impact,” Dr McGill said.
“I am incredibly proud to have contributed to the establishment of the first Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Advisory Group for this region, because if we’re not working to reduce the rate of suicide deaths and attempts of Aboriginal people, we’re not going to be making a significant difference in suicide prevention.”
Developed by the Black Dog Institute, LifeSpan is an evidence-based integrated suicide prevention approach, which centres upon the implementation of nine key strategies aimed at reducing suicide.
Everymind Acting Director, Tina Fox said the Institute was one of a number of organisations, which worked together to support LifeSpan Newcastle and is proud of the local work achieved by the trial.
“Everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention and by focussing on the needs of the local community while also drawing on the collective strengths of local agencies, LifeSpan Newcastle has had a significant impact,” Ms Fox said.
“Suicide prevention takes collaboration and Everymind is proud to have been part of an alliance of organisations who have supported and amplified the work being done during this trial.
“We look forward to continuing this important work through these strong stakeholder relationships moving forward.”
Officially concluding on 31 July 2019, the trial achieved a number of highlights according to LifeSpan Newcastle Coordinator, Tegan Cotterill.
“LifeSpan Newcastle has provided the resources and the incentive to get local stakeholders and community members collaborating together for a mutual goal, suicide prevention,” Ms Cotterill said.
“Since LifeSpan began in 2016, more than 1300 people have completed gatekeeper training to support safe conversations about suicide.
“11 high schools and a further 1,975 Newcastle school students participated in the Youth Aware of Mental Health Program.
“More than 28 GPs and 73 health professionals also completed Advanced Training in Suicide Prevention and a further 84 professionals underwent Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality Training (CAMS).
“This work has helped to build a solid foundation for local collaborative suicide prevention to continue in our region and I’m excited to see this great work continue long beyond the conclusion of the trial.”
If you need any assistance, there is support available 24/7. Please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au
About LifeSpan: LifeSpan Newcastle is part of alliance of agencies working together locally to prevent suicide and include Hunter New England Local Health District, Everymind, Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network, Hunter Primary Care, Calvary Mater Newcastle, Lifeline Hunter and Central Coast, Newcastle City Council, Department of Education, Awabakal and members with lived experience.