Research Sector News — 03 December 2015

Australia’s largest suicide prevention trial will start in 2016 thanks to a $14.7 million donation.

“This extraordinary donation lets researchers kick-start an approach that the international evidence suggests has every chance of being highly effective,” NSW Mental Health Commissioner John Feneley said.

The Paul Ramsay Foundation donation will enable the Black Dog Institute to begin the trial of a new suicide prevention approach over six years in four NSW sites, which are yet to be decided.

Every year, more than 2500 Australians die by suicide and a further 65,000 make an attempt to take their own lives.

It’s the most common cause of death in Australians aged 15-44.

“We have the knowledge to save thousands of lives and lead the world in suicide-prevention activities,” said the institute’s director, Professor Helen Christensen.

The National and NSW Mental Health Commissions have strongly recommended establishing an evidence-based and community-focused approach to suicide prevention, she said.

The ‘systems approach’ involves the simultaneous implementation of nine key strategies that target suicide risk through medical and social interventions.

This means services can be tailored to local needs and are co-ordinated within the community by primary healthcare providers, education systems, emergency services and community groups.

Paul Ramsay was an Australian entrepreneur who died in 2014 and the $14.7 million is the foundation’s first major grant.

This article first appeared on ‘SBS’ on 3 December 2015.

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