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Place-based suicide prevention trial

We partnered with Western Queensland PHN to trial a place-based suicide prevention model and develop new knowledge about suicide prevention efforts in regional and rural communities.

Why is this important?

Nearly 40 per cent of Queenslanders live in rural and remote areas. Evidence suggests that people who live in regional, rural and remote Queensland communities can be at higher risk of mental ill-health, mental illness or suicide.

What we did

We partnered with Western Queensland PHN to deliver the Maranoa Place-based Suicide Prevention Project trial. 

Project aim

The trial aimed to reduce suicide and its impacts in the Maranoa region through a partnership approach between key service providers and community stakeholders. It built on existing suicide prevention activities, community infrastructure and community strengths. 

What we found

Project evaluation and learnings

The project was impacted by unanticipated challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and recruitment of staff. However, the trial identified some key considerations and success factors when establishing place-based suicide prevention models in regional and rural Queensland communities. 

The trial found project planning and groundwork should: 

  • be based on identified community needs
  • be adequately resourced with a view to sustainability
  • provide clarity around the project aims and objectives, and tailored to project staff and stakeholder audiences
  • ensure project supports are put in place 
  • identify anticipated challenges
  • provide project risk management and mitigation strategies
  • include project knowledge transfer (to ensure outcomes and learnings are documented for future project planning).

Service provider engagement should:

  • provide clarity around project aims and objectives through information tailored to individual services and their service scope
  • seek service provider buy-in and participation
  • include direct project involvement of service provider leaders and decision-makers (e.g. representation in steering group/s, etc.)
  • ensure service provider pathways and linkage sustainability beyond the project.

Project staffing should:

  • comprise staff with appropriate skills and knowledge (including lived experience) to engage and motivate stakeholders and lead and coordinate deliverables
  • ensure position/s are recruited using strategies that are informed by an understanding of specific recruitment challenges
  • ensure staff are well supported to stay in their roles.

Events, activities, initiatives should:

  • be based on a clear rationale around meeting the broader project aims and objectives
  • be stakeholder driven
  • be informed by “what works” literature
  • be individually reviewed and evaluated for success and what could be improved
  • identify level of project involvement (as driven, funded, supported by the project).

Monitoring and evaluation should:

  • provide program support that enables early identification of emerging project challenges (and identify ways to address these)
  • capture the individual activity and initiative successes and challenges along the way (to inform ongoing project planning)
  • capture the project learnings to inform broader future project planning (and contribute to “what works” literature).

Community engagement should:

  • be delivered in an appropriate way for the community, and meets community needs
  • involve people with lived experience
  • provide clarity around project aims and objectives through information tailored to the community
  • actively seek community buy-in and involvement (including opportunities for project decision making such as representation on steering group/s, etc.)
  • ensure community sustainability beyond the project.

Download the Considerations when establishing a place-based suicide prevention project model factsheet.

Policy implications

This trial has contributed knowledge about the key considerations and success factors when planning and implementing place-based suicide prevention strategies to best meet local needs in regional Queensland communities.

How does this support reform?

A key action under Shifting minds is to strengthen the responsiveness and integration of community based mental health and wellbeing, alcohol and other drugs, and suicide prevention systems and services.

Similarly, Every life Phase Two commits to supporting the development and implementation of community-led and place-based suicide prevention initiatives for groups who are disproportionately impacted by suicide.