Council for Suicide Prevention

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:08): My question is directed to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Will the minister update the chamber on the Premier's Council for Suicide Prevention and also on the national Suicide Prevention Conference which is being conducted by Suicide Prevention Australia in Adelaide this week?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (15:08): I thank the honourable member for his question. I am happy to do so and, in so doing, acknowledge his strong work in mental health and suicide prevention. I particularly take this opportunity to congratulate him on the announcement of the Council for Suicide Prevention. The members were announced yesterday and I look forward to the support that their work will offer for all South Australians.

The Marshall Liberal government is committed to addressing the problem of suicide in our state. The Council for Suicide Prevention, with appointees who were announced yesterday, will provide strategic drive to action in this area. Mental illness is very common with almost half of all South Australians experiencing a diagnosable mental illness in their life, and suicide is often linked to mental illness.

By appointing a council on suicide prevention, the Premier is naming and bringing to the forefront one of the key issues in mental health. The members of the council announced yesterday are Jill Chapman, Chez Curnow, Dr Kate Fennell, Dr Seema Jain, Janet Kuys, Lee Martinez, Peter May, Chad McLaren, Reverend Peter Sandeman, Simon Schrapel, Dr Peter Tyllis, Kelly Vincent and Tracey Wanganeen.

A mental illness does not discriminate, and the council represents a diverse mixture of people bringing together a range of age, gender, lived experience, professional expertise and interests. It even includes one former and esteemed member of this place. I understand the council meets for the first time this Friday. I wish them well in their work and their deliberations in seeking out suicide prevention strategies and solutions for all South Australians. The council plans to build on the efforts of the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist led by Lynne O'Sullivan, particularly in relation to the many suicide prevention networks operating around our state.

Coinciding with the commencement of the council's work, this week Adelaide plays host to the National Suicide Prevention Conference organised by Suicide Prevention Australia. I understand the honourable member was able to give an opening address yesterday and I congratulate him and Matthew Tukaki, chair of the Suicide Prevention Australia board, the rest of the board and the Suicide Prevention Australia staff on this conference.

I have had the opportunity to meet with one of the conference's eminent speakers, David Covington, to glean some of his insights about what we can do to ensure South Australia has world-leading mental health services. Mr Covington is the CEO and president of RI International, and I was particularly interested to hear about the involvement of peer support workers in the programs that he has implemented. I trust the conference will be a fascinating learning and networking opportunity for all delegates and speakers and that they all are able to enjoy some of the many wonderful activities and places on offer in Adelaide and our regions during their visit.