Back to top

New Suicide Prevention Action Plan to reduce loss of lives

10 Sep 2015

Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Cameron Dick

10 September 2015

The Palaszczuk Government is aiming to reduce suicide by 50 per cent within the next decade through an integrated strategy which brings together all government and community organisations involved in the field.

Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said that around 600 Queenslanders took their own lives each year, and while Queensland’s rate of suicide was reasonably stable it was still higher than most other states and above the national average.

“This plan outlines 42 actions across the State Government to improve our responses to people at risk of suicide and to support families, communities, service providers and first responders who are impacted by suicide,” he said.

The four priority areas in the Queensland Suicide Prevention Action Plan are:

  1. Stronger community awareness and capacity so that families, workplaces and communities are better equipped to support and respond to people at risk of, and impacted by, suicide
  2. Improved service system responses and capacity to ensure people at risk, including those who have attempted suicide, get the support they need, when and where they need it
  3. Focused support for vulnerable groups to address the specific needs of groups and communities experiencing high rates, and at greater risk, of suicide
  4. A strong, more accessible evidence base to drive continuous improvement in research, policy, practice and service delivery.

Mr Dick launched the plan at a forum hosted by the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, after which he went to the Southpoint construction site in South Brisbane.

He said the site had been deliberately chosen as rates of suicide in the construction industry were higher than in the general population.

He said research showed that among 15-24 year-olds, the rate of suicide in the construction industry was approximately twice that of the broader population.

But the industry itself has recognised the issue and has set up the Mates in Construction program, under which workers on construction sites are trained to look out for any of their colleagues who may be seen as being at risk of committing suicide.

“This is the sort of program we’re delighted to partner with,” Mr Dick said.

“It gets right to the sort of people who are at greater risk of suicide and who are unlikely to associate with an outside authority figure, but are a lot more likely to listen to their own mates.”

The program has largely been conducted in south-east Queensland among large construction companies but the Queensland Government is providing $155,000 to allow the expansion of the program to regional areas and to middle-sized construction companies.

Mr Dick said the Suicide Action Plan was developed by the Queensland Mental Health Commission with direct input from those with experience of suicide and broad community consultation.

Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck said greater attention needs to be given to supporting families and communities to safely talk about suicide and support those at risk to seek help.

“Suicide is a tragic personal matter, yet it also affects the lives of others in our community. It’s a terrible toll that we must reduce,” she said.

Dr van Schoubroeck said the Action Plan included direct input from Queenslanders, including those who have been impacted by suicide in the community and in their workplace, about what actions the state and the community might take.

“Overwhelmingly the message has been that we need to change the conversation about suicide to one that focuses on hope and optimism for the future,” Dr van Schoubroeck said.

“They also told us of the need to look beyond the health system to the broader social services system as providing opportunities for improved support and earlier intervention.”

Implementation of the Action Plan will be overseen by a newly-established Queensland Suicide Prevention Reference Group, made up of government and community representatives and including people directly affected by suicide.

The Queensland Mental Health Commission with review the Action Plan after 12 months to ensure that it continues to complement national approaches to suicide prevention.

View the Queensland Suicide Prevention Action Plan

Go to the media statement