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Local solutions for suicide prevention in Lachlan and Weddin

The Western NSW Primary Health Network (WNSW PHN) has responded to an urgent need to address suicide prevention in Lachlan and Weddin Shires.

The National Suicide Prevention Trial will provide training and raise awareness in the community to localised strategies for suicide prevention.

Western Plains Regional Development (WPRD) has been engaged by WNSW PHN to deliver the program. They will work collaboratively with frontline services including police, schools, Aboriginal organisations, youth workers, paramedics, hospitals and doctors to build knowledge, skills and confidence for suicide prevention.

“This program acknowledges that a suitable approach for suicide prevention is different in different areas and that a tailored local response is essential for this challenging issue, especially within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” said Andrew Harvey CEO, WNSW PHN. 

“We will use our strong local connections to develop skills and integrate suicide prevention through all relevant health and human services,” said Anne Coffey, CEO of WPRD.

WPRD has recruited a Senior Project Officer and a Project Officer experienced in community services that will be based in Condobolin covering both Lachlan and Weddin areas.

This program also provides funding for local residents to gain tertiary qualifications in suicide prevention roles.

The Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack, said programs such as the National Suicide Prevention Trial were vital in rural and remote areas where the suicide rate, tragically, was higher. “Thankfully, there is a growing awareness of mental health problems in country areas,” Mr McCormack said. “I am pleased this program will work towards developing localised strategies to address mental health issues in local communities such as Grenfell in Weddin Shire.”

The National Suicide Prevention Trial is funded by the Australian Government to target areas with higher than average suicide rates. Outcomes from the twelve trial sites across Australia will inform the future response and service development for suicide prevention in Australia.

This program is also being implemented in a Northern Cluster across Cobar, Bourke, Brewarrina and Walgett where a range of local and regional activities are planned. These activities are funded by the WNSW PHN and delivered by Outback Division of General Practice, Bourke and Walgett Aboriginal Medical Services.

WNSW PHN is one of 31 Primary Health Networks across Australia that work to support and strengthen primary health care. WNSW PHN funds a range of services to meet identified health care gaps and currently provides around $10.3 million in funding for mental health, alcohol & other drugs and suicide prevention programs.