Damning report of Suicide Prevention in the State a concern: Greens

Media statement, Wednesday, 7 May 2014. 

Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren said efforts to prevent suicide in Western Australia must be stepped up, in response to the report today by the Auditor General.

“I wasn’t surprised to learn that the State Government’s Suicide Prevention Strategy took too long to get organised.

“For the past 5 years we’ve asked the Minister for Mental Health about progress of the strategy and heard various explanations for the delay in implementing these vital programmes.”

The Auditor General has now revealed that poor governance caused an unacceptably long delay in implementing much needed prevention programmes.

“The rate of suicide in Western Australia is rising and significant. The gap between WA and the rest of Australia is worsening.”

Though the report is damning in identifying many inefficiencies, if the strategy continues to be funded, there is a real chance that the lessons learned over the past five years can deliver a much more effective and cost-effective approach to reducing the numbers of deaths by suicide in WA.

“Building on the momentum from this first-time approach, we’d like to see the strategy continue to be funded. It is vital that these community action plans continue for a few more years because, to quote the report:

“The time in which CAP activities were carried out, one year or less, reduced the chances of making lasting change. Research shows that community development approaches need three to five years to be effective and brief interventions are unlikely to bring about lasting change.”

 If you or someone you know is thining about suicide get help immediately, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.