Suicide Prevention

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (14:58):  I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse a question about suicide prevention training.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS:  Connecting with People (CWP) is a suicide mitigation training program suitable for a wide range of situations and audiences. The CWP program includes modules on suicide awareness, self-harm awareness, self-harm response, compassion at work, emotional resilience and emotional resourcefulness for all people from all walks of life and also suicide response one and two for health and social care professionals. Earlier this year, many representatives of suicide prevention networks around SA were trained in the self-harm modules from the CWP program at the statewide Network of Networks event. My questions to the minister are:

1. Will the minister indicate whether further elements of the CWP program will be made available to participants in the next statewide Network of Networks event, scheduled for 1 March 2018?

2. In addition, will the minister indicate if the CWP program will be made available to participants in the regional Network of Networks events planned for the first half of 2018?

3. Where will the regional events be conducted?

4. Is an additional Network of Networks event, incorporating training, planned to incorporate the growing number of metropolitan networks?

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS (Minister for Health, Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse) (15:00):  I thank the Hon. Mr Dawkins for his question. I acknowledge again his passion for the area. It is an important cause. Suicide prevention is something we need to do more of. We have reflected previously in this chamber upon the fact that more people die of suicide each year in Australia and South Australia than people die in the road toll.

The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins:  One and a half times.

The Hon. P. MALINAUSKAS:  One and a half times, as the Hon. Mr Dawkins refers to. Yet, we see on television every single day ads about the road toll, Motor Accident Commission ads, trying to get people to drive safely. We put an enormous amount of resources into road safety, as is appropriate, but it seems that suicide doesn't get the same level of attention, which I think is a concern. So, we have to start acknowledging that just like road safety being everybody's responsibility so is suicide everybody's responsibility. The Connecting with People program, the CWP program that the Hon. Mr Dawkins refers to, is part of that.

The Suicide Prevention Plan was put in place by this state government. The Suicide Prevention Plan goes from 2017 to 2021 and it was officially launched in September. It is supported with a substantial investment on behalf of the state government; $600,000 was contributed in the state budget for 2017-18. Through that exercise, there are currently 27 suicide prevention networks established across the state. These networks start lifesaving conversations and break down the stigma surrounding suicide.

The stigma is a contributing factor in people not disclosing how they are feeling or seeking help. If people are feeling suicidal, they should call Lifeline on 13 11 14. People concerned about immediate risk for themselves or others can call the SA Health Mental Health Triage on 13 14 65, which is a 24/7 service. In the 2014 election, the state government committed $903,000 per annum to the implementation of the South Australian Suicide Prevention Strategy that took us up to 2016.

This commitment includes $150,000 annually to support the development of suicide prevention networks, to which the Hon. Mr Dawkins referred, and a further $100,000 for project officers to establish SPNs. Then, in the 2017 state budget, we announced a further $600,000 for 2017-18, which included $130,000 for grants to existing SPNs at the time of the announcement to increase their ability to take action in communities in 2017-18. An additional $100,000 has been provided for one FTE suicide prevention officer to continue the expansion of SPNs, specifically targeting the South-East region of South Australia.

SA Health provides facilitation for network development, working with each community to develop a suicide prevention action plan for the region. SPNs are established in local government regions, with many of the local governments providing invaluable encouragement and support. The SPNs are encouraged to work together on larger projects, and two examples of this have been Ride Against Suicide at the Royal Adelaide Show and the SOS Yorkes and SOS Copper Coast SPNs joining forces to participate in the Yorke Peninsula Field Day to raise awareness and break down stigma. It is a tragedy that suicide doesn't just outrank road deaths in terms of numbers but shows a disproportionate representation of people living in regional communities when it comes to suicide as well.

This is worthy of more attention, worthy of more effort and I think collectively, in a bipartisan way, I hope that future parliaments can continue to attack this tragedy of suicide.