Every life lost to suicide is one too many and comes at a huge personal cost to families, friends and communities. The Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Strategy 2016-2020, launched today, honours an election commitment by the Hodgman Liberal Government.

It outlines how we will invest an additional $3 million into targeted suicide prevention initiatives to save lives, and ensure those at risk get the support they need.

Supporting vulnerable people is a key focus of the Hodgman Liberal Government in 2016, and has been made possible by our strong budget management.

The Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Strategy, and its companion documents, the new Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy and Suicide Prevention Workforce Development and Training Plan for Tasmania represent a strategic direction for suicide prevention over the next five years, for supporting Tasmanians at times of extreme vulnerability.

Five priority areas have been identified which are supported by actions.

Create a responsive, coordinated health service system for people experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviours and build and promote referral pathways to services and programs so people know how and where to get support. This includes ensuring all people who present to emergency departments or public mental health services following a suicide attempt have a comprehensive discharge plan and are actively followed up within 48 hours of discharge.

Empower and support young people, families and communities to respond to suicidal behaviours and the impact of suicidal behaviours. This includes supporting communities to develop and implement coordinated action plans to prevent suicidal behaviour and support those affected, and a focus on children in out-of-home care and their carers to ensure they have access to programs that build skills and resilience.

Implement public health approaches to reduce suicidal behaviour and increase community literacy about suicide and suicide prevention. This includes work to identify and reduce access to means of suicide in Tasmania, including safety measures at known hotspots.

Ensure effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Strategy. This will include data collection and evaluation methods with an annual report of progress to be made to the Minister for Health.

Train and support health workers and other gatekeepers to provide effective and compassionate care and support for people experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviours. This includes tailored training for emergency department staff, GPs, nurses and telephone crisis counsellors to ensure that they can identify and quickly manage those who may be at risk of suicide.

To have a significant impact on suicide numbers requires a collaborative approach across all levels of government, the service sector and the Tasmanian community. The Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Strategy reflects this and is the result of extensive consultation with service providers and the general community, including those who have been suicidal and their families.

Preventing suicide is everyone’s responsibility. It is very important to remember that we are all in a position to help those around us: ready to listen, brave to ask the question and empowered to offer hope.

Our Plan to reduce suicide can be found here:

If you need immediate assistance or support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

For further information about suicide contact the SANE Australia helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263) or www.sane.org or www.lifeline.org.au or www.conversationsmatter.com.au/ or talk to your local GP, health professional or someone you trust.

For guidance on reporting of suicide and mental illness, go to: http://www.mindframe-media.info/home/resource-downloads/mental-health-and-suicide-prevention-resources

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