Suicide Prevention

Suicide prevention is a shared focus of the Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services and the Primary Health Networks, an Australian Government initiative.

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 are currently commissioning service providers to deliver the work needed to  improve individual and community resilience and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of service system performance.Our area of focus are the communities of Frankston, Dandenong and the Mornington Peninsula.

Various policies, models and peak suicide prevention organisations are guiding the PHN in this piece of work. One important framework is Lifespan, an evidence-based suicide prevention model developed by the Black Dog institute. The framework identifies key areas of intervention based on best practice evidence in suicide prevention. These suicide prevention activities include responsible media reporting, gatekeeper training for frontline workers such as  General Practitioners, emergency services workers, and the broader community. Other framework such as Everymind Prevention First  framework are guiding the suicide prevention work of SEMPHN. This framework identifies a range of interventions that hold the most promise for reducing suicide rates, a combination of public health approaches, treatment approaches and community capacity building. Amongst these are activities that support individuals and communities bereaved by suicide. 

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

Suicide prevention at a local level 

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.

This collaboration has created 12 place-based suicide prevention trial sites all working to improve local responses to suicide and lay the groundwork for future suicide prevention efforts state wide.
The suicide prevention place-based trials are part of an Australia wide reform in suicide prevention driven by the high rates of suicide and the need for a renewed approach.

“A place-based approach will require collaboration among community members, government agencies, community services, businesses and those with lived experience. Place-based approaches build on local community strengths and draw on the knowledge and experience of local residents, services and businesses. They recognise that Victoria is too diverse for a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model to apply everywhere and for everyone when tackling complex issues”. (VCOSS 2017)

Watch this short video on PHN's place-based suicide prevention.

What work have we commissioned so far?

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 facilitated by Roses in the Ocean have been well supported 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.

Kate McLoughlin wishes she could grab her son, Zach, one more time, hug him, and tell him everything is going to be ok. But that opportunity was taken away forever when Zach made an ‘impulsive decision’ to end his life when things, in his mind, seemed to be getting too tough. Kate was involved in both workshops, and gained valuable skills to articulate her story so she can help others, and, as a result, she is helping to shape the way people view and tackle suicide in communities across the Mornington Peninsula. Kate recently delivered a powerful speech alongside ex AFL player Wayne Schwass at a forum attended by over 400 people at Elisabeth Murdoch College in Langwarrin.

Read Kate’s story in our news section.

Roses in the Ocean is offering a SEMPHN-funded two-day workshop, called Our Voice in Dandenong on 10 & 11 May 2018. It's free of charge for participants. 
Our Voice is a unique 2 day capacity building program for people with a Lived Experience of suicide. It is designed to develop the skills required to meaningfully participate in suicide prevention activities and gain clarity in what direction you would like to lend your lived experience voice to. The program provides the framework to explore your lived experience and how it can be combined with other skills for the greatest influence and impact. For more information about these workshops go to Roses in the Ocean

Commonwealth-funded suicide prevention activities 

SEMPHN currently supports suicide prevention activities previously funded through the National Suicide Prevention Program.

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.  

Upcoming work

Support after Suicide Attempt – Way Back Support Service 

The Way Back Support Service is an Australian first research trial currently being conducted in several sites, including the SEMPHN region. The service supports people within the first three months after a suicide attempt, in an effort to reduce the likelihood of further attempts and ensure people receive treatment and appropriate care. The project is funded by donations to Beyond Blue and is being delivered in partnership with Monash Health and the SEMPHN. The Way Back Support Service aims to support continuity of care for individuals by providing non-clinical, assertive outreach, follow-up care and practical support to individuals for the first three months following a suicide attempt.
The service was designed to prevent repeat suicide attempts and suicide deaths and adopts a culturally sensitive, strengths-based and collaborative approach to care.

Following a referral to The Way Back Support Service, Support Coordinators contact the client within 24-48 hours and work with them to:
•    develop a safety plan
•    set goals
•    provide support, coaching and motivation to encourage individuals to build skills and motivation to stay alive
•    stay connected to informal and formal supports that strengthen their mental health and promote recovery.

Support Coordinators also provide clients with information, psycho-education and the skills to manage their mental health such as recognising triggers and enacting safety plans. However, the support service covers all aspects of patient health and wellbeing, and does not just focus on mental health exclusively.
Services may include clinical care, safe and secure housing, financial or relationship counselling, getting back to study or work or keeping in touch with family and friends. The level of support provided is based on the needs of the client and can vary from a one-off contact, to multiple contacts over a three month period.

Current opportunities

Borderline Personality Disorder in Primary Care

SEMPHN is offering an 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. 

A recent one hour education session engaged the interest of a group pf Dandenong based and Frankston/Mornington Peninsula based GP’s. Feedback indicated that local GP’s would welcome an improved understanding of therapeutic interventions for people presenting with BPD. Prof Sathya’s expertise in this area and willingness to build the capacity within primary care is an important step forward for this client group.

General Practice in the Local Government Areas of Greater Dandenong, the City of Frankston or the Mornington Peninsula Shire can contact SEMPHN to indicate your interest in this initiative. 
This 12-month initiative will provide GPs with intensive support from psychiatry and allied health including on-call support, secondary consultations and more.
RSVP your attendance to the second and final session in Frankston 14 March (6.30pm - 8.30pm). Register here.

We'll be seeking expressions of interest on the night to participate in the BPD in Primary Care initiative. For more information see the flyer or contact Alison Asche at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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 Australia1300 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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