Suicidal behaviour is complex, and while not all suicide deaths can be prevented, effective and appropriate early intervention can prevent many suicide deaths.

NSW Health coordinates a whole-of-government, whole-of-community approach to suicide prevention, in consultation with 16 other NSW Government Departments, Area Health Services, Non Government Organisations and community leaders. The NSW Suicide Prevention Strategy was released in 1999 to guide this framework.

The state-wide Suicide Prevention Strategy is being reviewed and updated to reflect recent research and current priority areas for action.

MHDAO continually looks at ways to support NSW Area Health staff to enhance their capacity to detect, assess and effectively manage people with possible suicidal behaviour and to encourage system performance improvements to promote patient safety and quality of care. This work currently involves the review and revision of the NSW Health Policy Directive Management of Patients with Possible Suicidal Behaviour.

This policy, originally released in 1998, sets out the standards to be instituted in key treatment settings across the State to ensure appropriate structures for the management of patients with suicidal behaviour.

The implementation of the Framework for Suicide Risk Assessment and Management for NSW Health Staff and Guidelines is also currently being reviewed. The Framework was developed as a component of the Management of Patients with Possible Suicidal Behaviour Policy Directive and sets out standards of practice and detailed guidelines for assessment and effective management of people who are at risk of suicide in different health settings.

These documents can be accessed through the links below.

A new Policy Directive to support services to manage patients with possible suicidal behaviour is being developed in consultation with Area Health Service clinicians working in mental health, emergency departments, general hospital wards, community health settings and in Justice Health. It will incorporate current advice in relation to requirements and practices for suicide risk assessment and management for mental health and non mental health professionals. It will also be updated to take into account current Area Health Service organisational and governance structures.

The review of the implementation of the Framework for Suicide Risk Assessment and Management is looking at the roll out of the Guidelines as well as the uptake of the training provided through the electronic training package.

Page Updated: Tuesday 20 June 2017
Contact page owner: Mental Health Branch