Suicide Prevention

1st August 2018

Matters of Interest 

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:30): Last week was a great week for the suicide prevention sector, not only in South Australia but across the nation. The national suicide prevention conference, conducted by Suicide Prevention Australia, was held not very far from here in the Adelaide Convention Centre, attended by over 600 delegates from around Australia and some from overseas. It was a terrific gathering of people from a wide range of organisations, from universities right through to volunteer suicide prevention networks, that have a passion for suicide prevention and the advancement of awareness about suicide throughout all aspects of our community. 

I was particularly pleased to attend the dinner and the life awards, which recognise excellence in that area in a variety of categories, and also to see the way in which the wide variety of topics at the conference provided fabulous information to many of the people who attended. 

Other highlights of the week were, obviously, the naming by the Premier of his Council on Suicide Prevention, which had its first meeting in this building last Friday. There was also a reception for the South Australian delegates at the conference last Thursday afternoon in Parliament House. I was delighted to host that conference on behalf of the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. 

It gives me pleasure to share with the council some information about a new initiative commencing in South Australia. For the first time, this state has a formalised mechanism between SAPOL and South Australia’s three postvention providers, driven by the Country SA Primary Health Network. Where a person dies by suicide anywhere within the state, within 24 to 48 hours there will be a notification from SAPOL to the postvention providers, and those families or individuals bereaved by the suicide will be informed of the specialised service available. 

This is an important agreement which has changed the landscape significantly and ensures integration across the emergency service and suicide prevention sector. This collaboration between state and federal jurisdictions will ensure timely referrals and access to services for those impacted by suicide. It is very indicative of the way in which both I and the Premier’s council wish to go in encouraging much more work between both state and federal governments in this area and, of course, with local government as well. 

The parties involved in the work towards this initiative were SAPOL, represented by Detective Senior Sergeant Trevor Rea; the National Indigenous Critical Response Service, which is active in all of South Australia; Living beyond Suicide, in the metropolitan area; StandBy, in country SA; the Adelaide PHN; and the Country SA PHN, which led a lot of the work. That body was represented by Ms Chez Curnow, who played an integral role in the formation of the initiative. She said: 

It has been a pleasure to lead these negotiations. All involved showed leadership and a willingness for collaboration. We know when an individual is bereaved by suicide that exposure and impact significantly increases the risk of suicide attempt and suicide for those impacted by the death. 

I commend all the people involved, and I was delighted to launch the formalised South Australian postvention referral mechanism as described above.