National Suicide Prevention Adviser appointed

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the appointment of Christine Morgan as the new National Suicide Prevention Adviser.

 

Mr Morrison said, “Ms Morgan will work with my Department and the Minister for Health to drive a whole-of-government approach to suicide prevention, while ensuring prevention services reach Australians that need them and communities are supported.

 

“Around 80 per cent of people who die by suicide have a mental health issue, however there are a range of factors and circumstances which may contribute to suicide.

 

“I am particularly focused on continuing our strong support for those most at risk, including our veterans, Indigenous Australians and young people.

 

“Suicide is the leading cause of death for young Australians, accounting for over one-third of deaths among younger people aged 15-24 years. The prevalence of suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is around twice that of non-Indigenous Australians.”

 

The National Mental Health Commission (Commission) welcomed the appointment of its CEO, Christine Morgan, to the new role.

 

The Commission Chair, Lucy Brogden AM, said this appointment recognises the tragic impact suicide is having across Australian communities, and the focus required to ensure that current and future initiatives, and expertise in suicide prevention, is drawn upon to reduce and prevent the devastating number of suicide deaths in Australia.

 

The new role of National Suicide Prevention Adviser to the Prime Minister has four key tasks:

  • Report on the effectiveness of the design, coordination and delivery of suicide prevention activities in Australia, with a focus on people in crisis or increased risk, including young people and our first nations people;
  • Develop options for a whole-of-government coordination and delivery of suicide prevention activities to address complex issues contributing to Australia’s suicide rate, with a focus on community-led and person-centred solutions;
  • Work across government and departments to embed suicide prevention policy and culture across all relevant policy areas to ensure pathways to support are cleared, and people who are at an increased risk of suicide are able to access support; and
  • Draw upon all current relevant work government and the sector is undertaking to address suicide, including the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan and Implementation Strategy, and the findings of the Productivity Commission and Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System inquiries.

 

“The scope of this new role demonstrates the level of commitment the Government has to addressing the root causes of suicide across our communities, with a focus on at risk communities. It also recognises that many of the responses will need to target building better connected and capable communities, by supporting the programs and initiatives that are working on the ground,” Mrs Brogden added.

 

Australian Psychological Society (APS) CEO Frances Mirabelli said Australia’s psychologists and their clients were encouraged by the government’s focus on the mental health crisis in Australia.

 

“The APS has long been drawing attention to the mental health crisis that is sweeping across Australia and the dire impact of suicide on communities.

 

“It is clear that Ms Morgan’s extensive experience in the mental health space, including her current role as CEO of the National Mental Health Commission, ensures that she is very well placed to lead the whole-of-government coordination and delivery of suicide prevention activities,” she said.”

 

If you have concerns contact any one of:

Lifeline 13 11 14. www.lifeline.org.au

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467, www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.

 

9 July 2019.