SUICIDE PREVENTION CONFERENCE

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS(15:54:26): I rise today to speak about the inaugural Network of Networks Suicide Prevention conference which was held in the Festival Centre on 26 September. I congratulate the Chief Psychiatrist, Dr Peter Tyllis; Lynne James from his office; and others within the Mental Health Unit within the department. I think the conference, which was conducted free of charge for participants from the Suicide Prevention Networks around South Australia, was very well received. I think it was unanimously regarded as a great way of networking and finding out what other groups are doing in their various communities.

I acknowledge the fact that my colleague from another place, the Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Leesa Vlahos, was there and spoke on behalf of the government. I was very pleased also that the keynote speaker was Ms Susan Murray, who is the CEO of Suicide Prevention Australia. Her topic was about collaborative action and, having been at the recent Suicide Prevention Australia conference, I can attest to the fact that there is a great deal of collaborative action happening in this country on suicide prevention, self-harm, and mental health in general. I think in some ways we are ahead of the game compared to what I saw in the United Kingdom recently, although there are some aspects of their research that I think are probably better than ours. Collaborative action goes beyond international boundaries, and I commend Ms Murray and her organisation for the work they are doing.

The conference also included a session on postvention—working together to achieve the best outcomes for our communities, which certainly had a strong emphasis on assisting those who are impacted by suicide in a number of different ways. Ms Chez Curnow from Port Augusta who works for Standby Response Service in the north of South Australia was a speaker, along with Jill Chapman, the founder of MOSH Australia (Minimisation of Suicide Harm). Also other speakers on that topic were Tim Porter from Bereaved Through Suicide, and Michael Traynor and Janette Mckinnon from Living Beyond Suicide. They are all organisations that do a great job in assisting families and others who are impacted by suicide.

I think a significant part of the day was brought back to representatives from input from representatives from the various groups that were there, and they were from communities such as Mount Gambier, Port Adelaide, Strathalbyn, Playford, another group from Mount Gambier which is dedicated to the local Aboriginal community, the Port Augusta group known as SILPAG, Back2Back Basics at Clare, Gawler, Murray Bridge and Naracoorte. There were also some people there from communities in the Mid-Murray and Karoonda East Murray areas who are also interested in commencing a network.

It was a privilege to be able to speak to the group in the afternoon and to talk about some of the things that I had seen in my recent visit to the United Kingdom. I suppose the overall emphasis I had in that presentation was the fact that, like those various communities that I have just mentioned, there is a great range of differences in the communities that I saw in the United Kingdom. Something that I think we all can agree on is that each community needs to be able to deal with these issues as best fits that community.

Out of the conference there was certainly a strong demonstration of the importance of that. I once again commend the Chief Psychiatrist and all who work with him on their support for the Suicide Prevention Networks. I know it is intended to have another one of these network of networks conferences next year, and I look forward to it.