This article has been developed as an information resource for GPs, mental health professionals and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm please contact your GP, a trusted mental health professional or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Suicide is a significant public health concern in Australia, with 3,144 Australians losing their lives to suicide in 2021, leaving profound impacts on families and communities1. Certain groups, such as LGBTIQA+ individuals, First Nations peoples, and culturally and linguistically diverse populations face a disproportionate burden of suicide. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young adults aged 15-24. Men are also significantly affected, comprising three-quarters of all suicides.
World Suicide Prevention Day 2023 aims to shed light on this issue, reduce the stigma associated with suicide, and increase awareness among organisations, governments, and the public. The theme for 2021-2023, “Creating Hope Through Action,” seeks to inspire healthcare professionals and individuals facing these challenges while underscoring the global importance of suicide prevention as a public health priority.
Mental health professionals play a crucial role in supporting people at risk of suicide. Clinicians are tasked with cultivating a strong therapeutic alliance whilst navigating the delicate balance between respecting their clients’ autonomy and ensuring their safety.
A variety of digital tools are available for GPs and clinicians to use in managing suicide risk. Digital tools can support clinicians to collaboratively engage in safety planning with their clients or patients. Digital tools offer advantages for clinician and patient, such as the ease and immediacy of accessibility, different delivery formats, allowing for personalisation, offering reminders and producing shareable content.
Apps and Online Tools to Support Suicide Safety Planning
A suicide safety planning app and website from Beyond Blue to help people develop a personalised safety plan they can work through when experiencing suicidal thoughts, feelings, distress, or crisis.
ReMinder Suicide Safety Plan
An app for users to create a digital suicide safety plan which can be shared with supporters and accessed anytime, anywhere.
A website and app to assist the veteran community learn about suicide prevention and help those at risk. The app is intended to support clinical care and provides access to support services and self-help tools.
Services that Respond to People in Crisis
Crisis phone, SMS, video and online web-chat support services can provide immediate, confidential, and empathetic assistance and referral to individuals in distress, which can be incorporated into safety planning activities. These are staffed by trained counsellors and are often available 24 hours a day.
Suicide Call Back Service (ages 15 years and over)
1300 659 467
24 hour phone and online counselling for people at risk of suicide or those bereaved by suicide. Registration required for online counselling and video chat is available by appointment only.
1300 78 99 78
24/7 phone and web-chat, and video chat counselling for Australian men by appointment. Mensline also offers a multi-session service of up to 4 sessions with the same counsellor for eligible clients.
Want to learn more about using digital tools for suicide safety planning?
Check out this webinar from Black Dog Institute on Digital Safety Planning for Suicide Prevention to learn more about how to develop a high-quality suicide safety plan with your clients using digital resources.
Webinar 52 – Digital Safety Planning for Suicide Prevention
This webinar discusses safety planning which is a brief, customisable intervention for the prevention of suicide, delivered digitally. It involves collaborating with the person at risk to develop coping strategies and identify professional and social supports that can be accessed if a suicide crisis emerges. However, the effectiveness of safety plans depends on therapeutic alliance and a solid understanding of what makes a quality, personalised plan. This webinar provides person-centred training on how to develop effective safety plans with clients and patients.
This webinar is designed for GPs, GP registrars, psychologists, and allied mental health practitioners, or any other health professional with an interest in improving outcomes for patients with mental health conditions.
The webinar is available any time through the Black Dog Institute Health Professionals Education and Resources Hub.