SANE Australia is passionate about preventing suicide among people accessing services from the mental health sector. As well as providing suicide prevention resources for individuals directly affected by suicide, we also provide mental health workers with the tools and support that they need to help reduce suicides – through evidence-based resources, staff training, and research.
SANE also works with mental health services to prevent further suicides by supporting the friends and family of people with mental illness who are bereaved by suicide. SANE works with organisations all around Australia to help save lives.
Resources to help prevent suicide
The Suicide Prevention and Recovery Guide encourages people working in mental health to consider a range of strategies for preventing suicide. It advocates a holistic and recovery-oriented approach by involving the person in decision-making, and encouraging individual responsibility.
A complementary resource to the Suicide Prevention and Recovery Guide is the Online Assessment aimed at furthering understanding of these issues. Completion of the Online Assessment will provide a certificate to claim Continued Professional Development (CPD) points for your ongoing education.
Working with community mental health services
SANE has partnered with Mental Illness Fellowship Australia to develop a Suicide Prevention Audit Tool that offers community mental health organisations a comprehensive framework from which to consider their organisations’ suicide prevention practices. The Audit Tool utilises evidence-based strategies to improve how their service supports people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviours, to both prevent suicide and in crisis management.
The Audit Tool is currently being piloted with ten community mental health services around Australia. Results of the pilot will be used to improve the Audit Tool after which is will be made public and available to other services.
SANE is dedicated to partnering with Australian universities to undertake research into suicide prevention. Our focus is on listening to the priorities of people with lived experience and including their voices in the research that we do. The results of our research are used to make recommendations and develop resources that can help to reduce suicide.
Lessons for Life is research examining the experiences of people who attempt suicide.
Supporting those bereaved by suicide
SANE’s work in supporting those bereaved by suicide centres on educating and encouraging mental health services to have a more thoughtful and supportive response to the friends and family of clients who die by suicide. The key messages are to acknowledge grief, communicate well and refer to appropriate supports. Several resources have been developed to help services in this important suicide prevention strategy:
- Bereavement Guidelines – for mental health services to help develop policy to best support those bereaved by suicide
- Mental Illness + Bereavement Kit – An educational resource for health professionals including a video showing the lived experience of people bereaved by suicide
- Workshops – An in-depth forum providing services with the opportunity to learn best practice approaches to supporting people after suicide.
The Suicide Prevention Project Manager, Sarah Coker, discusses some of the obstacles faced by mental health services when supporting those bereaved by suicide, and also reflects on the experience of suicide bereavement.
SANE Australia gratefully acknowledges funds received by the Australian Government Department of Health, under the National Suicide Prevention Strategy to undertake our suicide prevention work.
SANE is also grateful to the individuals who donate to SANE so that we can continue to provide all of our services. To to help us continue our work see Donate.