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New portal connects suicide prevention through community of practice

June 17th, 2021

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.

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.

The SPN aims to fill this gap, linking regions and workers with best-practice systems approaches to suicide prevention. Through 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.

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.

"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," Associate Professor Shand said. 

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.

The SPN was officially launched during a virtual event on Wednesday 16 June, which featured a walk-through demo of the portal and a panel discussion, ‘The Future of Suicide Prevention in Australia’.

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