North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network suicide prevention update

Posted 26th September 2019 in General

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) play an integral role in regional approaches to suicide prevention. The suicide prevention activities that each PHN operates in their region are unique and respond to the needs of the communities within their region.

North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) has shared some of their suicide prevention activities happening within their region, including place-based suicide prevention trials.

Trialing change

North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) is working hard to reduce suicide in our community with three suicide prevention trials underway to support people at risk of suicide, their families and friends.

The federally-funded National Suicide Prevention Trial is helping prevent suicide in the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) community across Melbourne’s north and west. The trial is moving into an exciting new phase as a range of commissioned services and activities become operational.

These include:

  • Adapting existing evidence-based suicide prevention training to be more relevant for the LGBTIQ community.
  • Delivering frontline training for GPs, nurses, hospital staff and receptionists in creating LGBTIQ-friendly health environments.
  • Developing a postvention response that better supports the LGBTIQ community.
  • Developing and implementing a model of after-care for those in the LGBTIQ community who have been impacted by a suicide attempt.
  • Supporting those within the LGBTIQ community to become mentors to help young people and their families through their coming out journey.

Susan Cadman, Manager of Suicide Prevention and Intervention at NWMPHN, said the service providers providing these interventions include Mind Australia, Drummond Street Services, Thorne Harbour Health, Switchboard and Livingworks.

“These commissioned services all work closely with the LGBTIQ community and have a lot of experience, so we are confident they are going to do really great work,” Ms Cadman said.

These services have been co-designed with the NWMPHN LGBTIQ Suicide Prevention Taskforce, made up of representatives of LGBTIQ organisations and advocacy bodies, along with those with lived experience of suicide. The Taskforce decided the areas of priority and informed the development of actions to address these priorities through services and support.

The Taskforce recently met to consider the next steps for the Trial, with their insights critical to several upcoming commissioning activities. These activities will likely focus on raising community awareness, the development of family support materials and providing more peer leader support for the LGBTIQ community. More information will be available on these activities soon.

Working together to reduce suicide


The other two suicide prevention trials in our region are ‘place-based’ and are looking at ways to work with local community to reduce suicide. One trial is in the municipalities of Melton and Brimbank, with the other covering the Macedon Ranges. These sites are among 12 across the state where PHNs are working with the Victorian Government to reduce suicide.

The Macedon Ranges Suicide Prevention Collaborative brings together local stakeholder community groups and organisations to provide local trial-site governance and to set the agenda for suicide prevention activities in the region.

Membership of the Collaborative includes community members with lived experience, the Macedon Ranges Suicide Prevention Action Group, local government, community health, clinical mental health services, the local hospital, emergency and social services and PHNs.

A range of activities are now being implemented under the guidance of the Collaborative and many more activities are currently in the planning stage. These include:

  • SafeTALK training to help people be alert to people at risk of suicide and how to respond
  • Specialised Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality training for mental health professionals
  • Our Voice in Action training which builds capacity and provides a framework to help people with lived experience of suicide participate in suicide prevention.

Trial activities in Melton and Brimbank are also progressing, focusing on building connections between mental health service providers, community members and health organisations to find locally-relevant solutions. Some current and upcoming activities include:

  • Increasing suicide prevention awareness and help seeking in gaming venues through a pilot program with IPC Health.
  • Suicide prevention training to build the capacity for the community, frontline workers, and those impacted by suicide. 
  • Community engagement events targeting men in trades and sport, with an aim to de-stigmatising mental ill-health and promoting help seeking behaviour. 
  •  A targeted focus on improving the understanding of the impact of suicide within the Vietnamese community within Melton and Brimbank.

NWMPHN has just released a video highlighting the key trial activities and participants in Brimbank and Melton – you can watch it, here.

These trials are in addition to a range of commissioned services that work specifically with people at risk of suicide or to provide post-vention support. 

Find out more about our full range of suicide prevention, mental health, AOD and other related services available through our system of care, here.

For more information and how to get involved with either the LGBTIQ or place-based suicide prevention trials, please contact Susan Cadman, Manager of Suicide Prevention and Intervention, or Dan Brown, Director of Mental Health and Wellbeing, on 03 9347 1188.