Setting suitable to deliver program / service:
Community based, Health service, Mental health service

Program designed for:
Emergency Services as First Responders, Workforce

Industry or sector this program / service is suitable for:
Health, Mental health, Community and/or Social Services, Education, Police, Research/Academic

Program / service delivered to:

All states/territories

Regions available:
Major cities/metropolitan areas, Regional and remote areas

Mode of delivery:
Face to face

Length of time is needed to deliver this program / service:
4-8 hours

Cost of program / service:
At Cost

Model of delivery of this program / service:
Direct to end users

Which organisation is delivering this program / service?

SANE Australia

What are the aims and objectives of this program / service?

The SANE Suicide Prevention and Mental Illness Workshop aims to improve how mental health professionals support people at risk of suicide through prevention, intervention and postvention. By providing mental health agencies and workers with the tools necessary to have a holistic response to suicide, we aim to prevent suicides in a population of people at particularly high risk of suicide – those with complex mental illness and their significant others. We do this by achieving the following objectives:

  1. To improve knowledge and confidence levels of mental health workers about working with people at risk of suicide
  2. To promote awareness of community resources and appropriate referral options for people at risk of suicide'
  3. To educate professionals about supporting those at risk of suicide from within a recovery framework
  4. To improve the attitudes of mental health workers about people experiencing suicidality and suicide bereavement

What does delivery of this program / service involve?

The SANE Suicide Prevention and Mental Illness Workshop is a six-hour interactive workshop that has been delivered to approximately 1,100 (mainly Victorian) health professionals and gatekeepers since 2016. SANE received funding from the North Western Melbourne Primary Health network and South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network in 2016/17 and again from the South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network in 20167/18 to deliver the workshop to health professionals in their catchment areas. Under this model, SANE has been able to deliver the workshop to health professionals and gatekeepers in these PHN catchments fee of charge. For those working outside these PHN areas, we use a fee-for-service model of $190 per person to attend the training.

The workshop is delivered by two SANE staff; An external contracted facilitator who is a registered psychologist, and the SANE Suicide Prevention Manager/Coordinator, who has over 10 years experience working in the Suicide Prevention Sector.

The content of the workshop has been formulated from previous work that SANE has undertaken in Suicide Prevention. It is primarily based on the Suicide Prevention and Recovery Guide (see attached) The Lessons for Life research (see attached) and a previous workshop that focused on the needs of families of people with mental illness who are bereaved by suicide. The topics covered in the workshop include:

  • Workshop aims and content
  • Introductions
  • Activity: Common myths and misconceptions
  • Activity: Suicide and Mental Illness (Kahoot quiz)
  • Communicating about suicide: Language and the media
  • Activity: Agree Disagree. Suicide is preventable
  • Asking about suicide
  • Assessing risk - Warning signs, risk factors and protective factors
  • Challenges and benefits of risk assessment
  • Case study - Tess (the complexity of factors that lead a person to contemplate suicide)
  • Activity - group discussion: Concerns about working with suicidal clients
  • Overview of recovery
  • Video of person with lived experience talking about the difficulties of opening up about suicide
  • Working with people who self-harm
  • Common errors in suicidal assessment & Issue of recurring suicidality
  • Building a positive working relationship (Aeshi group guidelines)
  • Insights from lived experience - Lessons for life video
  • After a suicide attempt
  • Learning from a crisis
  • Risk after a suicide attempt - Times of transition
  • Case study - Tess's experience after crisis
  • Preventing crisis (Building resilience, Advance Directives)
  • Working with families and significant others
  • Activity: Agree/disagree. Family/carer involvement in treatment
  • Postvention - Suicide bereavement
  • Self-care
  • Resources & training

Activities have been designed to enhance the learning of participants, promote reflection and discussion, and better engage with clients and promote recovery.

Video and other content material explore the lived experience of people who have been suicidal including their experience of help-seeking, messages of hope and recovery, the impact of suicide bereavement, and the importance of self-care and reducing stigma.