Group Young People

Safe Discussion to Prevent Harm and Reduce Stigma

Over the last six months, Gippsland PHN’s suicide prevention team in consultation with stakeholders and community groups has been supporting programs across the Latrobe Valley and Bass Coast areas on safe and responsible communication around mental health and suicide prevention.

The Victorian suicide prevention framework 2016-2025 establishes a goal to halve Victoria’s suicide rate by 2025 and is supported by investment of $27 million over 4 years for 2 key initiatives; assertive outreach to support people and families after a suicide attempt; and place-based suicide prevention trials in six locations.

Gippsland PHN, with funding from the Department of Health and Human services, has already established a trial site in the Latrobe Valley and has contributed additional federal resources to expand the reach of the program by initiating a further trial site in the Bass Coast local government area.

Gippsland PHN’s Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Brooke Carlesso, said it’s important to be mindful when discussing mental ill health or death by suicide.

“We should refrain from talking about methods or means of suicide. While we want to have more conversations about suicide, we do not want to stigmatise, glorify or sensationalise,” she said.

Essential to this work is training to ensure safe and responsible communication about mental ill-health and suicide prevention.

In 2018 Gippsland PHN in partnership with Mindframe delivered safe language training to local workforce, community, health providers and media organisations. Attendees stated that the training was invaluable to better understand the statistics, resources available to them, and information on how to influence those most vulnerable when disclosing their struggles with suicidal ideation.

Mindframe is a national program supporting safe media reporting, portrayal and communication about suicide, mental ill-health and alcohol and other drugs.

For more information contact Brooke Carlesso, Project Coordinator Suicide Prevention brooke.carlesso@gphn.org.au.