Western Victoria PHN is delighted to announce Glenelg Shire Mayor Cr Anita Rank will chair the new Great South Coast (GSC) Suicide Prevention Leadership Group. Western Victoria PHN Chief Executive, Dr Leanne Beagley, said the 18-member Leadership Group will provide expert advice as part of one of the 12 place-based community trials occurring throughout Victoria to support local communities in exploring and developing collaborative strategies for suicide prevention.

 Dr Beagley said the community trials were part of the Victorian Government’s 10-year mental health plan which sought to halve the rate of suicide in the region by 2025.

“Mental health is a priority issue for Western Victoria PHN. Therefore, part of our Commonwealth Government funding allocation toward suicide prevention is covering the cost of the trial,” said Dr Beagley.

“This initiative will build on current projects underway in the region and identify gaps in services or activities. This is not about replacing existing programs but ensuring programs and services are working together to improve coordination and reduce service gaps. We are all working toward a common goal of improving mental health in our communities,” she said.

Photo (L-R): Anne Waters (Regional Manager Brophy), Cr Anita Rank (Mayor Glenelg Shire and Chair GSC Suicide Prevention Leadership Group), Karyn Cook (Executive Director – Mental Health Services South West Healthcare), Mac McInnes (Director Primary & Preventative Health Western District Health Service), Michael Struth (Western Victoria PHN Senior Manager Mental Health), Dr Leanne Beagley (Western Victoria PHN CEO), and Elizabeth Barrett (Community Engagement Strategist Lifeline Direct).

The work of the GSC Suicide Prevention Leadership Group will cover the shires of Corangamite, Glenelg, Moyne and Southern Grampians and the City of Warrnambool.

Cr Rank said she and her fellow group members looked forward to working on the strategy to address the stigma around suicide prevention and to make a real difference to those families and individuals affected by suicide.

“It is important to develop a strategy with long-lasting effects that draws from lived experiences. I’m honoured to be part of a group with high level skills and expertise in the area, and who are willing to share their knowledge and resources for such an important program,” she said.

The Leadership Group will be in place until June 2020. In that time, it will review recommendations from the commissioned GSC Suicide Prevention ‘Current State’ report, prioritise initiatives and identify opportunities to build on and strengthen integration of suicide prevention services and programs in the region.

Dr Beagley stressed the initiative was just one step in the process of improving mental health support and services.

“Suicide prevention is a complex issue requiring a multi-faceted and well-researched approach. The GSC Suicide Prevention Leadership Group will have a central role in building the groundwork from which local agencies, clinicians and support services can continue working together to tackle suicide prevention,” said Dr Beagley.

Great South Coast Suicide Prevention Leadership Group Member Organisations

AFL Victoria

Ambulance Victoria

Brophy Family & Youth Services

Glenelg Shire Council

Life Line Direct

Live 4 Life

National Centre for Farmer Health

Rural Financial Counselling Service Victoria

Wimmera South West Inc

St John of God Warrnambool Hospital

South West Health Care 

South West Primary Care Partnership

Victoria Police

Warrnambool City Council

WAVE School

Western District Health Service

Western Victoria Primary Health Network

Youth Affairs Council Victoria