Community-led efforts and galvanising support for strong local initiatives in suicide prevention were discussed today in a meeting between Ballarat’s Mayor Cr Sam McIntosh, the CEO of Western Victoria Primary Health Network (PHN) Dr Leanne Beagley and CEO of Ballarat Community Health Sean Duffy.

Western Victoria PHN is currently leading a state government funded Place Based Suicide Prevention Trial in Ballarat, bringing together organisations, groups and people with a lived experience who are already providing services and supports to people in the community.

“There is no one answer or solution in addressing suicide prevention,” said Dr Leanne Beagley.    

“There are people and organisations out there doing a fantastic job in assisting families and individuals through counselling and awareness raising, and it is this ground swell of good work that we see as critical in reducing rates of suicide.  We are seeking the collective effort of the Ballarat community by bringing existing evidence together with the very best minds for the local community.” 

“The provision of statistics and data without the local picture, and without supporting access to the multiple tools, resources and services already available to the community is not helpful. What we are leading here is early intervention actions and genuine community-based efforts. I am confident that if we work together and integrate our approaches we will strengthen collective impact and we will see change,” said Dr Beagley.

Whilst heart disease, stroke and cancers are still by far the leading cause of death across the region, suicide rates have continued to raise community concern.  The Ballarat Place Based Suicide Prevention Trial is working with the local community, including the wider population, health agencies, state and local government, emergency services, support services, schools and media outlets to help reduce the suicide rate within the City of Ballarat.

Ballarat Mayor Cr Sam McIntosh said: “The City of Ballarat would strongly support any initiatives to reduce our suicide rate.  We are keen to contribute to the Western Victoria Primary Health Network’s Place Based Suicide Prevention Program to help address this issue in Ballarat in any way we can.”

CEO of Ballarat Community Health Sean Duffy said: “Speaking as the chair of the Ballarat Suicide Prevention Placed Based Trial Leadership Group and CEO of Ballarat Community Health, I welcome and encourage a collective effort to prevent suicide. We know the alarming statistics for Ballarat are unacceptable and it will take a community effort to prevent suicides in the future.

“This is a not just a health problem but a social one, that requires both specialist health intervention and community action.  Much greater investment and attention to this crisis from all levels of government is welcome. We require action from prevention activities across the community through to extensive follow up support for people affected, including families.”

Anyone who feels they need support can contact the following organisations.

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au
  • headspace Ballarat for youth: 5304 4777 or eheadspace.org.au
  • Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault: 5320 3933
  • Kids Help Line: 1800 551 800
    Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467
  • MensLine: 1300 789 978 or mensline.org.au
  • Ballarat and District Suicide Prevention Network: suicidepreventionBallarat.com.au
  • QLife: 1800 184 527 (support for LGBTI community.)
  • Emergency Services: 000 (triple zero)
  • SANE Helpline: 1800 187 263 (talk to a mental health professional weekdays, 10am-10pm)