LIFE Communications

LIFE Communications is a National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS) project managed by On the Line on behalf of the Department of Health. The project aims to improve access to suicide and self-harm prevention activities in Australia through the promotion of the LIFE resources and website; and improve communication between suicide prevention stakeholders in Australia. This is achieved by providing access to a range of resources and research, including links to NSPS funded projects.

LIFE Communications aims to build networks in suicide prevention between key stakeholders such as academics, researchers, health professionals, service providers, community leaders and policy makers.

The project team promotes stakeholder use of the LIFE Resources, making it easy for them to access the LIFE Framework which sets an overarching, evidence based strategic policy framework for suicide prevention in Australia, aiding their suicide prevention work.


National Suicide Prevention Strategy

The National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS) is an initiative funded by the National Action Plan on Mental Health, and provides the platform for Australia's national policy on suicide prevention with an emphasis on promotion, prevention and early intervention.

In November 2015, as part of its response to the National Mental Health Commission Review of mental health programs, the Government announced a renewed approach to suicide prevention through the establishment of a new National Suicide Prevention Strategy.

The strategy involves:

  • a systems-based regional approach to suicide prevention led by Primary Health Networks (PHNs) in partnership with Local Hospital Networks, states and territories, and other local organisations with funding available through a flexible funding pool;
  • national leadership and support activity, including whole of population activity and crisis support services;
  • refocussed efforts to prevent suicide in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, taking into account the recommendations of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy; and
  • joint commitment by the Australian Government and states and territories, including in the context of the Fifth National Mental Health Plan, to prevent suicide and ensure that people who have self-harmed or attempted suicide are given effective follow-up support.

Primary Health Networks (PHNs)

PHNs have been tasked with commissioning regionally appropriate suicide prevention activities and services. PHNs will also work with Local Hospital Networks and other local organisations to support better targeting of people as risk of suicide. The regional approach led by PHNs focuses on effective local coordination and management, and allows for community needs and strengths to be recognised.

As part of this role, PHNs will be required to identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities within their region that may be at high risk of suicide, and liaise with local Indigenous-specific organisations, as well as mainstream service providers at a regional level, to help plan, integrate and target local mental health and suicide prevention funding. It is expected that PHNs will support the implementation of culturally appropriate activity, guided by the goals and actions identified within the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy.

Fifth National Mental Health Plan

The Fifth National Mental Health Plan (Fifth Plan) is currently being developed by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Principal Committee (MHDAPC).

The Fifth Plan articulates nationally agreed priority areas and actions for the next five years to achieve an integrated mental health system. The Fifth Plan will build on the foundation established by four previous National Mental Health Plans, existing state and territory mental health and suicide prevention plans, and national health and mental health reform efforts.

A national consultation process to support the development of the Fifth Plan commenced in November 2016.