Wesley Mission welcomes the announcement by the Federal Government and Department of Health to continue funding and expand Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Networks and Training programs under the National Suicide Prevention Support and Leadership Program.
As a leading provider of effective and evidence-based suicide prevention initiatives, Wesley LifeForce will receive $8.9 million to resource and empower Australian communities through Networks and $4.5 million to equip more Australians to intervene and prevent suicide deaths through Training.
Wesley Mission CEO, Rev Stu Cameron said, “This investment demonstrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to prevent suicide in Australia and reduce its devastating impact on our communities.
“We all have a role to play in preventing suicide. This funding will mobilise local people to meaningfully address the problem of suicide in their local communities and reach people who may never access clinical support.”
The total funding will be delivered over three years, from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2025 and represents nearly a 50% increase to expand these life-saving programs.
Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Networks supports 132 community-led action groups across Australia, including 70 in regional and remote Australia.
A study conducted by the University of Melbourne for Wesley Mission demonstrates the effectiveness of community Networks to reduce the rate of suicide by 7% on average. Longitudinal analyses of national suicide data showed that this pattern of effects was most pronounced nine months after establishing the Network, with a significant reduction of 17% in suicide rates.
Wesley LifeForce Networks focus on upstream measures which aim to build stronger and more resilient communities that are more willing to seek support and support each other while providing a vehicle for people with a lived experience of suicide to positively effect change. 85% of Network members recently surveyed identified as having a lived experience of suicide.
Rev Stu Cameron stressed the importance of engaging the community to address suicide, saying, “Some of the highest rates of suicide in Australia are in rural and remote communities, amongst men, youth and older adults, people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse populations and a disproportionate incidence for First Nations peoples.
“Complex factors affecting these at-risk groups show that a medical model of suicide is incomplete and the need for community-led actions.”
Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Training is an evidence-based program educating and equipping people to identify and prevent suicide.
An evaluation conducted by Griffith University’s Australian Institute of Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) found Wesley LifeForce Training to be “robust and effective”, with participants demonstrating “increased perceived capability, positive attitudes and reduced reluctance” to intervene to prevent suicide.
About Wesley LifeForce
Established in 1995, Wesley LifeForce began as a response to the growing number of suicide deaths in Australia. Our national staff and lived experience volunteers engage, educate and empower local communities, supporting people most at risk. Wesley Lifeforce delivers community and clinical services including community Networks, Training, suicide memorial events and Aftercare services.
Voices from Wesley LifeForce Networks
Kodi – Yarn Support Connect, Coonabarabran Suicide Prevention Network NSW
“As a grassroots community network supported by Wesley LifeForce, it is exciting to hear positive news of the continuation of funding. Our network has only been up and running for a couple of years, but we are making great gains and positive outcomes, breaking down social isolation and giving the community education around mental health and suicide prevention.
“With this announcement, we will be able to continue to grow and make a positive impact on individuals and our communities. I have no doubt that our network has helped save lives and will continue to do that.”
Shyam – Power of Us Network, Kenmore QLD
“We began Power of Us after I lost my 24-year-old son to suicide in 2017. Two other young people aged 21 and 26 in our community had also taken their lives. Everyone was saying that something had to be done. A number of young people came forward, and they continue to help provide leadership to our Network. Our young people are effective in reaching their peers.
“Together, we lead workshops, participate in community events and host seminars online to reduce stigma. Within our Brisbane South-Asian community, more people are starting to participate. We are helping to build resilience through positive mental health and support.”
Media release from The Hon Greg Hunt MP: $30 million in leadership, research and training grants to reduce suicides.
- University of Melbourne (2021) Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Networks evaluation report
- AISRAP, Griffith University (2018) Wesley LifeForce Training evaluation report