The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS ( 15:53 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Police a question regarding suicide prevention training for SAPOL officers.
The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS: The Hunter Institute of Mental Health is the leading national organisation dedicated to reducing mental illness and suicide and improving wellbeing for all Australians. For more than 20 years, that Newcastle-based institute has been delivering evidence-based mental health and suicide prevention programs from its northern New South Wales base, which I have had the pleasure of visiting on two occasions.
The institute has a program known as Mindframe which, along with guidelines for media reporting on suicide, also includes specific training and guidelines for police. The publication known as 'Mental illness and suicide in the media: a Mindframe resource for police' provides practical advice for police to support their interactions with the media when discussing events and cases which have involved issues of mental illness and suicide.
The resource was developed involving consultations with police services in each state and territory. The project itself aims to build the capacity of police to promote sensitive and appropriate reporting of situations involving mental illness or suicide. My questions to the minister are:
1.Has SAPOL adopted the Mindframe for police guidelines and training for its officers, particularly those performing front-line duties?
2.What, if any, suicide and self-harm prevention training does SAPOL currently provide to its front-line officers?
The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Police, Minister for Correctional Services, Minister for Emergency Services, Minister for Road Safety) ( 15:55 ): I thank the honourable member for his question. He raises a number of very important issues. The awareness of mental health in our community at large is forever on the increase, and justifiably so. So many Australians are, unfortunately, struck down by mental illness. The most severe culmination of mental illness comes in the form of suicide, which is always worthy of prevention.
I don't have any specific information regarding SAPOL procedures to be able to deal with suicides in the context in which you have asked the question, but I am more than happy to take that question on notice and provide the honourable member with an answer accordingly. Furthermore, I would also be interested in gaining information regarding the program with which you have familiarised yourself over in Newcastle.