Ballarat Suicide Prevention Place Based Trial

The Ballarat Suicide Prevention Place Based Trial is one of two such initiatives in our region to proactively develop coordinated and collaborative strategies for reducing the rate of death by suicide.

Western Victoria PHN (WVPHN) is coordinating the trial in partnership with the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. It also involves many individuals and organisations from the Ballarat community.


The Victorian Suicide Prevention Framework 2016-25 provides a coordinated approach to reducing the suicide toll. Victoria’s Primary Health Networks are leading the response to this framework through 12 place-based strategies to suicide prevention. The Ballarat trial is one of these 12 collaborative responses, acknowledging that the places where people live and spend time affects their health and wellbeing.

Each place-based trial aims to:

  • Reduce the rates of suicide
  • Reduce suicide attempts
  • Improve individual resilience and wellbeing
  • Improve systems to prevent suicide in an ongoing way

The Ballarat trial focuses on a collaborative approach bringing together a variety of relevant individuals and community organisations. The trial began in 2016 with the following steps:

  • an analysis of local data, existing evidence and current support services in the Ballarat area and identifying gaps
  • community and stakeholder consultation including with service providers and people with a lived experience of suicide, suicidality, and bereavement from suicide.

With the establishment of a leadership group, a set of recommended priority areas were identified and used as the basis for developing the activities listed below


As part of the trial, a series of complementary activities have been identified and are now in the process of being developed and/or delivered. Each activity will be monitored and evaluated against a shared outcomes framework.

Connect Back resources package

The Connect Back project involves producing a community resource of key local networks and groups that provide formal and informal community-based support for people at risk of suicide.

Lived Experience publication

In partnership with headspace, a lived experience publication will collate people’s lived experiences with a focus on hope. The publication aims to guide others in their journey.

Men’s health and wellbeing

Mental health and suicide prevention community awareness and wellbeing support programs are available to 30 community groups and/or organisations in Ballarat. Future mental health and suicide prevention planning for the region will also draw on key data on male vulnerability and resilience to suicide. Outside the Locker Room is coordinating this project.

Young women’s health and wellbeing

headspace will deliver two, eight-week programs for young women to improve their sense of connected-ness, self-confidence, self-regulation and to encourage them to seek help to reduce incidence of repeated acts of self-harm. The sessions will be structured into two groups: one for 15-17 year-olds and the other for 18-25-year-olds.

Women’s health and wellbeing

Ballarat Community Health is delivering a seven-week program for women aged 26 and over, facilitated by counsellors and supported by a peer navigator. The program covers psycho-education and self-esteem building alongside activities promoting general health and wellbeing.

Education and training

Uniting Ballarat is developing a two-stage education and training project involving:

  • Consultation with Aboriginal community leaders, secondary schools and the TAFE sector, and other support organisations to gain a better understanding of people’s needs and
  • Increasing community awareness and confidence in identifying and responding to people at risk through building the capacity of trainers and increasing access to education and training in the wider community.

Community Welcome Program

A Community Welcome Program will help Ballarat’s community organisations and businesses recognise their role in identifying at risk people and helping guide those people to the appropriate support services. It is part of the trial’s peer support and navigation response.

Review of peer speaker models

Also part of the peer support and navigation response, is a planned review of local peer speaker models. The review will consider best practices and look at how to maintain a voice of lived experience in the community.

Improving general practice capacity

Ballarat general practices will be invited to participate in a review of their understanding of and capacity and capabilities for working with people at risk of suicide. It will include an analysis of GP professional development needs; barriers, gaps and opportunities; and how to incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness.

Trial partners and supporters

The Ballarat Place Based Suicide Prevention Trial is overseen by a community-led Leadership Group with representatives from:

  • Ambulance Victoria
  • Ballarat Community Health
  • Ballarat City Council
  • Ballarat Health Services
  • Central Highlands Primary Care Partnerships
  • Child and Family Services Ballarat
  • Community members with lived experience
  • Federation University
  • headspace
  •  Lifeline
  • St John of God
  • Uniting Ballarat
  • Victoria Police
  • Wellways

In addition, input and support has been provided by:

  • Ballarat and District Aboriginal Corporation
  • Ballarat Suicide Prevention Network
  • Child and Family Services Ballarat
  • Compassionate Ballarat
  • Federation University
  • headspace
  • Lifeline
  • State Emergency Service
  • Uniting Ballarat
  • WDEA Work

Seeking urgent help

If you, or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 000, visit your nearest hospital emergency or use any of the crisis helplines:

Last modified: 7 September, 2020

Discover more about the work being achieved through the Ballarat Suicide Prevention Place-based Trial