Suicide in Australia has steadily increased over the last decade and novel approaches to suicide prevention are needed. People at risk of suicide often communicate their thoughts and intentions to family members and friends before they make a suicide attempt. However, family members and friends can be uncertain how best to interpret and respond to this communication. We conducted a telephone survey with 3000 Australian adults to identify what actions they took to help a person close to them experiencing severe distress or at risk of suicide. This presentation outlines the findings of this survey. It is clear that while Australians are taking positive actions to help those at risk of suicide, there is more they can do, and some of the actions they take can be unhelpful.
Angela is a PhD candidate in the Centre for Mental Health, University of Melbourne, where she is also a Research Fellow. She has a Doctor of Health Psychology (Research) from LaTrobe University and a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) from Flinders University of South Australia. In her work at the Centre for Mental Health and as a former Senior Evaluation Officer for the headspace National Office, she has been involved in several evaluations of Australia-wide government-funded mental health programs delivered in primary care.