Dynamic Simulation Modelling for suicide prevention

In a new initiative, the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECCPHN) has partnered with Sax Institute and Hunter New England Local Health District (including Everymind) to apply dynamic simulation modelling to suicide prevention across the region.

The process of simulation modelling is an emerging field in healthcare and provides a robust, evidence-based approach to suicide prevention. It acts as a ‘what if’ tool that utilises technology to test the effectiveness of interventions and services in a safe and low cost manner.

The development of the model draws on a wide range of evidence and data sources, including population survey data, systematic reviews, administrative data, lived experience and expert knowledge. This information has been collated to outline the pathways through mental health and community services and to identify a range of interventions which may work together to reduce the impact of suicide across the Hunter New England and Central Coast.

As the process of dynamic simulation modelling is largely underpinned by a participatory model that emphasises consultation as a key component of co-design, multiple workshops were held as part of the process. These included representatives from a wide range of sectors, including health, community services, education, CALD populations, LGBTI, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, young people and those with lived experience.

The initial results of the project were presented at the Regional Decision Making Symposium in Newcastle in February 2020, outlining what interventions were shown to have the most significant effect on suicide rates and demonstrate how various interventions interacted with each other to either amplify or diminish the overall impact. Further information will become available, exploring the implications for commissioning services and the potential impact for service provision relating to suicide prevention in the Hunter New England and Central Coast.

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