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    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    $62 million to fight suicide

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Thursday, June 06, 2019

    $62 million to fight suicide

    Queensland is stepping up action to reduce suicide, with $61.9 million allocated as part of Tuesday’s State Budget.

    Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the funding from the healthcare budget addressed emerging critical needs for service responses directed at people at high risk of suicide.

    “Every loss of life or suicide attempt has a ripple effect on family, friends, workplaces, schools, and communities,” Minister Miles.

    “Every death is one too many and Queensland’s statistics are far too high.

    “That’s why we’re investing a significant $62 million to make a real dent in suicides.

    “This funding will make a real difference to the lives of Queenslanders vulnerable to suicide or experiencing mental health and alcohol and other drug challenges.

    Mr Miles said funding included $7.5 million over four years for Beyond Blue’s Way Back suicide prevention services.

    “The Way Back service is an innovative suicide prevention service, developed to support people for the three months after they’ve attempted suicide, which is when they are most at risk of dying by suicide,” Mr Miles said.

    “This is a first-order priority, given the period immediately after discharge from hospitals or emergency departments is especially high risk.

    “Evidence from other jurisdictions indicates suicide attempts and deaths could be reduced by up to 20 per cent through assertive outreach and support during this period.

    He said funding had also been allocated in eight regions to establish alternatives to emergency departments for people experiencing suicidality or mental health-related crises.

    “Emergency departments should be an absolute last resort for someone struggling with their mental health,” he said.

    “People with lived experience in this space have told us that a combination of community-based and peer support is an effective way to deal with a crisis situation, and is preferable to hospital-based care

    “This package includes $10.8 million over four years for Safe Haven Cafes run by non-government organisations and staffed by mental health clinicians and peer support staff.

    “Safe Haven Cafes provide a safe alternative to the emergency department, for people struggling with their mental health.

    “Additionally, we have allocated $11.3 million, spread over the four years to 2022-23, to trial a sub-acute, community-based crisis stabilisation facility to support people through the critical initial 24 hours of a crisis.”

    Mr Miles said expanding community-based mental health support services was also vital for people living with severe and persistent mental illness, their families and carers.

    “The Palaszczuk Government has allocated $28.1 million over four years to help fill the gap in services for people not eligible for the NDIS, but who still require psychosocial support,” he said.

    “Enhancing community mental health support services also reduces pressure on emergency departments and inpatient services.”

    Other health initiatives include $4.1 million for a service reform project to scope and evaluate comprehensive and integrated models of crisis care developed by local collaboratives including first responders, health and human services stakeholders in eight regions across the state.

    Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic welcomed the Queensland Government’s investment, saying it supported early implementation of Shifting minds, the Queensland Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Strategic Plan 2018-2023.

    “This is the major element of a broader Queensland Government strategy aimed at reducing suicide and improving the mental health and wellbeing of Queenslanders,” he said.

    “Without question, this funding will strengthen mental health and related systems, and will make a real difference for individuals, the community and the economy.”

    The $61.9 million package to reduce suicide comes after the government recently announced $227 million investment over five years to community-based mental health service providers across Queensland.

    Queensland Government’s target is to reduce suicide by 50 per cent by 2026. 

    Shifting minds is available on the Commission’s website www.qmhc.qld.gov.au/shifting-minds

    The $61.9 million package to reduce suicide comes after the government recently announced $227 million investment over five years to community-based mental health service providers across Queensland. 

    ENDS

    Media contact:               Amy Hunter - 0423 651 484