Suicide Prevention Conference comes at critical time

Suicide Prevention Conference comes at critical time

Suicide Prevention Australia, the national peak body, is hosting the National Suicide Prevention Conference from 1–4 May in Canberra.

The conference will bring together government ministers, voices of lived experience, researchers, sector leaders, volunteers and staff from across the country as well as some international guests.

Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray said, “With 163 presenters, 127 sessions and 25 poster presentations, this year’s conference is set to be a world-class event.

“Australia is a global leader in research, innovation and best practice in suicide prevention. The conference provides a platform to showcase evidence-based solutions and how we can save lives.

“We’re welcoming Dr Sally Spencer-Thomas from America as a keynote speaker and Dr Sarah Hetrick from New Zealand, who is the Principal Clinical Advisor from the Suicide Prevention Office NZ.

“Stan Grant, award-winning journalist and host of ABC’s Q&A, will be delivering the Diego de Leo address and Emma McBride, Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, will be speaking at the opening plenary alongside the Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Melissa McIntosh.

“We last met face to face in 2019 — a lot of progress has happened since then but there is much more to be done,” Murray said.

“This year’s conference falls at a critical time for suicide prevention. Rates of distress are high and suicide rates are on the rise.

“Victorian and NSW suicide registers respectively revealed last month a 9% and 5% increase in Australians taking their own life for the 2022 calendar year.

“Rising rates of suicidal behaviour aligns with research on natural disasters, recessions and other crises that show suicide rates can peak two to three years after an event.

“It’s never been more critical for the suicide prevention sector to come together and discuss the path forward.

“Suicide is complex and is often related to multiple factors, so sharing insights on the latest approaches to suicide prevention will play an important role in saving lives,” Murray said.

People experiencing distress can call Lifeline: 13 11 14.

Image credit: Di Stefano

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