Suicide Prevention

South East Melbourne Primary Health Network is committed to reducing the rates of suicide and suicide attempts across its catchment area, especially in Frankston, Dandenong and the Mornington Peninsula - three areas that have some of the highest rates of suicide in the State.

We have commissioned service providers to deliver the work needed to  improve individual and community resilience and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of service system performance.

The Victorian strategy for suicide prevention utilises a collective impact approach, an approach to tackle deeply entrenched and complex social problems. 

SEMPHN and the Victorian Government are working together in a joint suicide prevention project in Greater Dandenong and Frankston/Mornington Peninsula.

The Victorian Government aims to halve the rate of suicide by 2025 with a $27 million, four year investment in its Suicide Prevention Framework. Its partnership with the six Victorian PHNs will help stakeholders and community members plan and deliver suicide prevention initiatives.

What work have we commissioned?

Men in Trades - HALT 

Nationally, men tend be overrepresented in deaths by suicide and this aligns with the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula (FMP) region, where approximately 75% of those that died by suicide between 2008-2017 were males.

A key principle of the work in FMP has been to find the energy, momentum and leadership that already exists in the region and to seeking to strengthen these efforts.

The national organisation HALT (Hope Assistance Local Tradies) has an existing presence in the region through the work of local Merv Stewart who has garnered grassroots support for HALT to run local awareness events.

Experiencing the energy and rawness of their signature tradie “Save Your Bacon” breakfast events and partnership with local Suicide Prevention Network Chasing Change, SEMPHN has commissioned these events to take place in the region till July 2020.

The events are structured across the calendar year to seek to move geographically around the region to deliver ‘Blitz’ weeks through an intensive series of engagements across the cohorts of men, the general community and service providers. Events will be scaled to be large and also to be taken into more intimate settings such as Men’s sheds and local businesses.

The aims of this work are to: 

  • Increase awareness of link between personal stressors and suicide risk;
  • Educate participants about the available support options and accessibility;
  • Enhance ability to recognise invitations for help in others and respond;
  • Improve ability to notice signs of distress/mental ill-health/suicide risk in self and others;
  • Increase awareness of healthy behaviours that strengthen resilience. 

The content delivered has a strong emphasis on lived experience, with Jeremy Forbes from HALT speaking powerfully about his personal challenges. This is paired with the voices of those that have been personally bereaved by suicide in the region. Speakers from Chasing Change are well-known and loved community members who are making significant contributions as advocates for suicide prevention.
In this work it is paramount that we ensure that anyone who attends these engagements and wants to access more support or knowledge can do this.

To address this we are working together on the following components:

  • Development of collateral that will support event attendees to feel empowered to have conversations with people in their lives, to have on-hand information to access supports (for stressors such as alcohol and other drug usage, gambling challenges, relationship difficulties, legal and financial concerns as well as mental health challenges);
  • Access to service providers: Ensure that local service providers are available at large-scale events to have immediate conversations with those that may like immediate on the spot support and/or more information about accessing services;
  • Informing local providers: Through the a SEMPHN Provider Support team we are ensuring that providers in the region are aware of the program of events so that they are prepared for a possible increase in presentations.
  • Online support which minimises process barriers: Recognising that the audience may be time poor and prefer online support we will hand out access cards to jump online and use a SEMPHN commissioned service – CyberClinic. Through this partnership event attendees will be able to access two free psychology sessions without a mental health plan. This is very much about recognise the barriers to care for this group and truncating the process to get direct access to support.
  • Link in to more training or local engagement opportunities: SEMPHN will be commissioning natural helper training and we are seeking local grassroot support groups emerge. 

Check out these two short videos (Video 1 and Video 2) about how HALT is helping tradies.  

Lived Experience Initiative

SEMPHN is committed to the development of local leadership among those with a lived experience of suicide from the local trial sites. Free workshops and a mentoring program were facilitated by Roses in the Ocean  in Mornington. Ten people are currently receiving mentoring and developing their skills for the purpose of engaging on a local level in suicide prevention opportunities.

Read a local participant's, Kate,  story in our news section.

SANE Australia

The SANE Mental Illness, Bereavement and Suicide Prevention Training aims to improve how mental health professionals support people at risk of suicide. By providing mental health agencies and workers with the tools necessary to respond to suicide, SANE aims to prevent suicides in a population of people at particularly high risk of suicide – those with complex mental illness and their significant others.

From July 2016 until June 2018, SANE Australia has been funded by South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN) to deliver suicide prevention workshops to health professionals. For the 2016/17 period, 337 people attended training. The majority of attendees were psychologists, social workers and nurses. SEMPHN professionals commonly work in the following South Eastern Melbourne suburbs: Frankston, Bangholme, Bentleigh, Cheltenham, St. Kilda, Prahran,Dandenong, Mornington Peninsula and Carnegie.

Support after Suicide

Jesuit Social Services was commissioned to provide counselling to those bereaved by suicide. In addition, the service provides support to health professionals who are providing support to clients bereaved by suicide.

JSS are supported by all six PHN’s in Victoria. In the six months from July to Dec 2017, in the SEMPHN region, 121 people were referred to JSS via the Victoria Police. Fifty-eight of these people lived in FMP and 10 in the Greater Dandenong region. A total of 118 people living in the SEMPHN received 572 counselling sessions and a total of 504 hours of counselling.

Nine group programs were supported by Jesuit Social Services including the Frankston Support After Suicide Group attended by 53 people living in the South Eastern Melbourne PHN. The provision of counselling in Dandenong, Frankston, Armadale and Richmond ensures an accessible service to people bereaved by suicide in the SEMPHN region.  

Support after Suicide Attempt – Way Back Support Service 

South East Melbourne Primary Health Network has funded Neami National to deliver The Way Back support service in the Casey region.

The Way Back is a beyondblue suicide prevention program which provides non-clinical care and practical support for up to three months following a suicide attempt. Evidence shows that 15 to 25 per cent of those who attempt suicide will try again in the three months following discharge from hospital. The Way Back service aims to guide people safely through this critical period by providing proactive and coordinated support following discharge from hospital.

Read more in our news section 

Borderline Personality Disorder in Primary Care

SEMPHN has offered the opportunity for General Practitioners to receive extra support to manage the care of patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) who present with chronic risk. We have been fortunate to engage Professor Sathya Rao, Psychiatrist in this important initiative for those GP’s working in the Dandenong or Frankston/Mornington Peninsula sites. 

Commissioning opportunities for suicide prevention are released via the SEMPHN commissioning newsletter

You can register your interest for funding opportunities via eProcure. You will receive updates about the tender process, including guidelines and timeline.

Seeking urgent help

The South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network exists to build the capacity and understanding of the primary health system to enable improved health outcomes for individuals within its region. We don't provide clinical services for people in crisis.

If you, or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 000, visit your nearest hospital emergency or use any of the crisis helplines

13 11 14 - 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Suicide Call Back Service
1300 659 467 - 24/7 telephone crisis support for people at risk of suicide, carers and bereaved, as well as online resources and information.

Kids Helpline
1800 55 1800 - 24/7 telephone counselling for young people 5-25 years.

MensLine Australia
1300 78 99 78 - 24/7 telephone and online support, information and referral service for men.

1300 22 4636 - 24/7 telephone support service and online chat 4pm - 10pm (AEST).

Further Information

If you would like to know more about suicide prevention these sites provide current policy, research, resources and more general information.

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Funding Opportunities

Tenders, Quotes & Expression of Interest Portal

If you’re interested in applying for funding opportunities, register your interest on SEMPHN's eProcure page. Once you register, you’ll receive information as it’s released.


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