Geelong and health sector leaders to tackle local suicide rate in new initiative

Media Release

Health sector, government and community leaders from across the Geelong area have been brought together to tackle the region’s incidence of suicide. This follows Western Victoria Primary Health Network (WVPHN) recently receiving support from the Federal Government to facilitate the development of an integrated, place-based framework for suicide prevention with the Geelong community.

The Geelong Leadership Steering Group, which met for the first time today (Friday 14 August), will focus on working with relevant mental health experts to define and build a more connected, collaborative and linked mental health system in the Geelong region, focusing on local community needs and issues.

The Group will meet independently of any current organisational or regional structures and develop a framework structure that will guide a more integrated system of care in Geelong. The steering group work will contribute to and inform the Regional Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan for Western Victoria which will be completed by June 2022.

WVPHN will lead this initiative, calling upon the commitment of key leaders across the City of Greater Geelong.

Western Victoria Primary Health Network Chief Executive Officer Rowena Clift said: “It’s vital that we work together to make it simpler for individuals, families and carers to access the support they need when they need it. A framework will be developed by analysing local data, applying learnings from current mental health and suicide prevention initiatives in the region and by drawing on the knowledge of key personnel.  This group will inform and prioritise future activities, system design and development. The establishment of the Leadership Steering Group will drive the initiative by bringing together local leaders, to maximise the collective efforts towards positive outcomes for the community.”

Annette Mercuri, Independent Chair of the Leadership Steering Group said: “This place-based framework for suicide prevention is targeting a sustainable, long-term approach to suicide prevention in the Geelong region. We are establishing a collaborative model for problem solving that identifies key needs and issues, connects available resources, reveals duplication or gaps in service provision and creates a system of care that is more responsive and visible to the Geelong community.”

Leadership Steering Group members include:

Name Title Organisation
Annette Mercuri Managing Director Mercuri Health Planning
Rowena Clift Chief Executive Officer Western Victoria Primary Health Network
Angus Clelland Chief Executive Officer Mental Health Victoria
Steve Moylan Director of Mental Health, Drugs and Alcohol Services Barwon Health
Jason Trethowan Chief Executive Officer headspace National
Martin Cutter Chief Executive Officer City of Greater Geelong
Elaine Carbines Chief Executive Officer G21 Geelong Region Alliance
Ashley Clearihan Director of Stakeholder and Community WorkSafe Victoria
Shane Dawson Chief Executive Officer Bellarine Community Health
Sandy Morrison Chief Executive Officer Barwon Child Youth and Family (BCYF)
Sarah Albon General Manager of Community Development Geelong Football Club
Catriona Salt Area Executive Director – Barwon Department of Education and Training
Andrew Dare Senior Policy Officer, Suicide Prevention Team, Mental Health and Alcohol and Drugs Department of Health and Human Services
Peter Nichols  Inspector Western Region Division Victoria Police
Sally Bishop Director Suicide Prevention Department of Health
Dr. Jane Opie General Practitioner General Practitioner
Lisa Briggs Chief Executive Officer Wathaurong Cooperative
Alastair Stott Chief Services Officer Beyond Blue
Gill Callister Chief Executive Officer Mind Australia


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