LifeSpan, an integrated suicide prevention program developed by the Black Dog Institute, is being trialled in Tasmania, as one of the 12 locations identified across Australia. 

The project was recently launched in Tasmania, where Wellways regional manager John Edwards was involved in the consultation process, in his role as board member of the Mental Health Council of Tasmania. 

The Council, along with a number of community managed mental health service providers were involved in consultations with Primary Health Tasmania, the Department of Health and Human Services and Tasmania Health Service. 

“We were involved in identifying the target populations of men aged between 40-64 years and men and women aged 65 years and over, for this trial,” Mr Edwards said.

Five locations across north and north-west Tasmania have been identified for the trial, including the LGAs of Break O’ Day in the north-east, Launceston and Devonport, Central Coast and Burnie in north-west Tasmania.

“I am really pleased this systemic approach to suicide prevention is being tested,” Mr Edwards said. “It has produced really positive results and is a promising health innovation.”

Based on the latest evidence and drawing from encouraging results of similar, large-scale suicide prevention programs overseas, LifeSpan involves the implementation of nine evidence-based strategies simultaneously within a local area. 

This integrated systems approach is expected to prevent 21 per cent of suicide deaths and 30 per cent of suicide attempts.