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New one-stop portal connects suicide prevention workforce

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suicide prevention network

The Black Dog Institute is set to launch an Australian-first “Suicide Prevention Network” (SPN), connecting those working in suicide prevention across the country with leading evidence, tailored advice and a community of practice. 

Historically, suicide prevention workers in Primary Health Networks (PHNs) and Local Health Districts (LHDs) have been isolated, dealing with sensitive subject matter and tough decisions often without internal resourcing to share insights or support. It has also been challenging for these workers to determine which programs or initiatives have an evidence base or have shown efficacy in published research trials. 

The SPN aims to fill this gap, linking regions and workers with best-practice systems approaches to suicide prevention. Via its Community of Practice titled “Let’s Talk About Suicide Prevention”, the SPN also provides access to members-only events, monthly thought-leadership articles, expert-led moderated online discussion forums, and a library of evidence-based how-to guides, resources, and research. 

“There is no other platform in Australia like this right now,” said Associate Professor Fiona Shand, Head of Suicide Prevention Research at the Black Dog Institute. 

“The Suicide Prevention Network will be the go-to place for suicide prevention workforces to ask questions and tap into a broader network of professionals, so their life-saving efforts achieve maximum impact. 

“Rather than operating in silos or without a broader support system, the Suicide Prevention Network gives people the opportunity to share knowledge and make long-term connections to take advantage of the incredible work being done in suicide prevention across the country,” she said.  

With $12 million pledged to the former National Suicide Prevention Trials (NSPTs) in last month’s federal budget to continue the delivery of local suicide prevention initiatives, it is hoped the Network will be of particular benefit to these 12 PHNs as they build momentum on work already underway in their communities. 

In addition to the networking and learning elements of the portal, the SPN also facilitates access to data collection and insights tailored to local communities, through Black Dog Institute’s bespoke consulting service. 

“Suicide prevention efforts must be locally led and data-informed in order to achieve maximum impact,” said Associate Professor Shand. 

“The complexities of suicide cannot be overstated, and what works in one region may not work everywhere else. These tailored data insights will help suicide prevention workers make informed decisions based on evidence, while giving them the hands-on resource support to implement these in a targeted way, Shand said.  

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