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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Government launches centre of research excellence in suicide prevention

Health Industry Hub | November 22, 2019 |

The Morrison Government has taken another important step in its ‘Towards Zero’ suicide prevention goal, with phase two of the Black Dog Institute’s Centre of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention (CRESP II) officially launched in Sydney this week.

Supported by a $2.5 million Government investment, the Centre’s research will focus on the early detection of Australians at risk of suicide.

Funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Centre brings together researchers from six universities to work towards this goal.

The Centre will implement a coordinated and multifaceted intervention strategy to detect people at risk of suicide earlier. The strategy will involve the delivery of evidence-based interventions in six different contexts:

  • Schools;
  • Workplaces;
  • Online;
  • Healthcare;
  • Means restriction, and
  • Crisis and aftercare.

The Centre will use smartphone and sensor technology to revolutionise prediction and response systems, by providing real-time information about suicide risk and delivering timely interventions.

The research will be led by Scientia Professor Helen Christensen AO, who is a leading expert on using technology to deliver evidence-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of depression, anxiety, suicide and self-harm.

Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, said phase two of the Centre of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention was a critical investment that would ultimately “save lives and protect lives.”

“Supporting Australia’s research in suicide prevention is critical in reducing the number of lives lost to suicide,” Minister Hunt said.

“This is a significant opportunity for Australian researchers to focus on real time suicide risk detection and prevention, providing outcomes that aim to reduce suicide rates.”

Suicide is a leading cause of death in working age Australians. It accounts for the highest number of years of potential life lost in Australia, with the median age at death being 44.4 years of age. It is the most common cause of death in Australians aged 15-44 years.

The launch of phase two of the Centre follows last week’s ground-breaking Suicide Prevention Forum held in Canberra, which was attended by diverse community organisations, the health and government sectors, and people with lived experience.

The Morrison Government will spend an estimated $5.3 billion this year on mental health, including $503.1 million on a national strategy to prevent suicide and build mental wellbeing.

More information is available on the Black Dog Institute website.

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