28 May 2017

Suicide prevention on the agenda – Orygen welcomes major Government investment

Suicide prevention on the agenda – Orygen welcomes major Government investment

The Australian Government has announced they will be investing $47 million into suicide prevention work across Australia. Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health has welcomed and applauded the announcement and is ready to start making a change in the devastating impact that suicide has on families and in communities across Australia.

Orygen is delighted to have been awarded funding under the National Leadership in Suicide Prevention program to work directly with young people on harnessing the benefits that social media can offer when it comes to suicide prevention.

‘Chatsafe’, is a national project engaging young people in developing a suicide prevention campaign to be delivered via social media. The campaign will be developed by and for young people and will seek to raise awareness of and de-stigmatise suicide and encourage young people to seek help and help others.

This project will also lead to the development of a suite of evidence-based resources regarding safe and effective online communication about suicide for young people.

Head of Suicide Prevention at Orygen, Dr Jo Robinson said it is fantastic to see the government investing this large sum of money into suicide prevention.

“Suicide is a significant and increasing problem among young people and we really hope that this initial funding will facilitate long term change,” said Dr Robinson.

“The Chatsafe project is very exciting in that it is a world-first in that will be the first project of its kind to be developed in an equal partnership with young people,” she said.

Orygen is also excited to be partnering with our colleagues and supporters, Black Dog Institute, United Synergies and Hunter Institute and with the Australian Medical Association. The consortium will be working together to tackle mental ill-health and reduce suicide in the health workforce.

Executive Director of Orygen, Professor Patrick McGorry  AO said that it is hugely encouraging that Health Minister, The Hon. Greg Hunt continues to respond to the one the previously hidden health scourges, namely preventive premature death from suicide. 

“These new investments represent a move away from the well meaning but “homespun” efforts of the past and towards an evidence-based approach which will be effective and sustainable,” said Professor McGorry.

“However, they must be matched by a rebuild of specialist expertise in the treatment of mental illness, which is essential to save lives in the same way as in cancer and heart disease,” he said.