MEDIA RELEASE – ROUNDTABLE TO DISCUSS SUICIDE PREVENTION IN TOWNSVILLE

Health  Minister Ley and DVA Minister Tehan will hold a roundtable discussion on suicide with representatives from defence and ESOs, health service providers and community groups in Townsville on Wednesday.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Sussan Ley and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, Dan Tehan will visit Townsville later this week to discuss the incidence of suicide among current and former members of the ADF and hear ideas that will help shape a new landmark suicide prevention trial in the region.

Representatives from defence and veterans’ associations, health service providers and local community groups will be attending Wednesday’s roundtable discussion.

Announced in September, the Turnbull Government is working with local and regional stakeholders to establish a Suicide Prevention Trial Site in Townsville. The Townsville trial will be led by the North Queensland Primary Health Network. As part of its work, the trial will focus on veterans’ mental health.

This is one of 12 innovative, front-line trials in our fight against suicide which will improve understanding of the challenges and work to develop best-practice services which we can apply nationwide.

The Turnbull Government is committed to supporting the mental health of all Australians.

The suicide prevention trial in Townsville is part of a $34 million commitment to fund and evaluate 12 suicide prevention trial sites nationally.

Minister for Health Sussan Ley said consultation and collaboration will be critical to the success of the trial in Townsville. “The involvement of veterans’ organisations, local service providers, and health professth the local community and servicionals is essential if we are going to tackle the incidence of suicide amongst current and former members of the ADF,” Minister Ley said.

“That’s why we’ll be talking directly with service providers to understand what’s currently working on the ground in garrison communities, like Townsville, and to seek their advice in designing and planning the trial.”

Minister Tehan said the suicide prevention trial site was another important initiative in the Government’s campaign to address suicide.
“The veterans’ focus of the Townsville trial site will be vitally important in helping to improve our understanding of the challenges and helping us to develop best practices which can be rolled out nationally,” Minister Tehan said.
“The Government is committed to addressing the incidence of suicide in our community and this year we have introduced several suicide prevention initiatives for our serving and ex-serving population.
“Free mental health treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders is available now to anyone who has served for one day in the ADF.”

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Comments

  1. While I applaud this initiative I feel it is yet another empty attempt to quell the bottom line that plagues the Defence Force as a whole. While this may work for retired service personnel, it will have a detrimental affect on those still serving. The stigma that is placed on service personnel who seek professional help via psych services in the system are tarnished for both promotion and posting preferences. All the previous incentives to listen and hear have all but fallen on deaf ears when the system treats members with mental health issues as liabilities and in most cases just don’t have the skills to deal with these issues on a unit level. What these members need are real time strategies that mimnimize the anxiety, that offer not just a hearing avenue but an active listening post that enables those members an ability to see that their personal issues are not being used against them but instead work for them. That they see trust in the system to not be ignored, to not be shunted away, and to not be discriminated by, that they are still an asset to Defence and to life. All these Roundtable discussions only work if what emerges is properly instigated. Less than 70 military psychs in the system that is meant to accommodate tens of thousands just relays to me that restructuring internally is what is needed here, changing the mentality of the system will not be accomplished without dedication. Please do not let this discussion become another balloon that is just filled with a lot of air that goes nowhere and shrivels and withers. The soldiers and veterans need this.