World Suicide Prevention Day – we all play a role in prevention

Friday, September 9, 2022

Imagine a world without suicide.

Almost 10 million Australians know someone who has been impacted by suicide - that’s almost half the country. For World Suicide Prevention Day – 10 September - CEQ’s Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch (MHAODB) recently updated us on some of the work they are doing to help health professionals to better support people experiencing suicidality.

Assoc Prof John Allan, Executive Director of MHAODB, said the Suicide Risk Assessment and Management in Emergency Department settings (SRAM-ED) training had undergone a significant redevelopment through intensive co-redesign with Lived Experience representatives (consumers, carers and peer workers), cultural advisors, and Emergency Department clinicians (nurses and medical consultants).

“The program continues to prioritise sensitive compassionate engagement with people experiencing suicidality. The enhanced training is highly interactive and includes immersive role-play.”

The new SRAM-ED package consists of an eLearning module, face-to-face or online classrooms, and train-the-trainer sessions. For insight into the tone of the new program, check out this moving thank you video from the lived experience collaborators. By completing the training, health professionals can expect to:

  • be more aware of personal reactions to a person experiencing suicidality and their impact on practice
  • increase their capacity to develop a therapeutic alliance with a person experiencing suicidality
  • apply clinical decision making based on information gathered to generate a risk plan.

The new training package will be available online soon via Queensland Centre for Mental Health Learning.

Assoc Prof Allan also provided us with an update on the Zero Suicide in Healthcare Multi-site Collaborative. The foundational belief of Zero Suicide is that suicide deaths for individuals under the care of health services are preventable. Zero Suicide in Healthcare presents an aspirational challenge and practical framework for system-wide transformation toward safer suicide care.

To implement the framework in Queensland, the MHAODB is collaborating with 12 Hospital and Health Services to improve care and outcomes for people at risk of suicide by incorporating best practice quality improvement and evidence-based care models that have demonstrated a reduction in suicides among people receiving healthcare.

“All participating sites have implemented a suicide prevention pathway, including collaborative safety planning. Most sites have also adapted their pathways to meet to the needs of priority populations, including culturally and linguistically diverse communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Assoc Prof Allan encouraged clinicians to always remember the important role they play in identifying and supporting people at risk of suicide,.

“All clinicians are in an incredibly powerful position to support people experiencing suicidality and something really small we can all do is recognising and calling out stigmatising behaviours and language – in the workplace and at home.”

Interested in improving the way your health service supports patients? Here’s how:

Remember, everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide, whether it is on World Suicide Prevention Day or any day of the year. For more information visit the Suicide Prevention Australia website.

Last updated: 9 September 2022