Towards Zero Suicide – translating evidence into practice
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Towards Zero Suicide translating evidence into practice table
South Australia’s journey towards reducing harm and saving lives.
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Towards Zero Suicide is a clinically proven, proactive and effective approach for best-practice suicide prevention care and support for people in contact with healthcare services. This approach has successfully reduced suicide rates both within Australia and overseas.
Across Australia and South Australia in 2019, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics:
Working Towards Zero Suicide as an approach to suicide prevention is a key priority within the South Australian Mental Health Services Plan 2020-25.
Towards Zero Suicide is an approach that can help everyone. It helps people who may experience thoughts about harming themselves or ending their life by allowing them to:
The approach also educates and guides health professionals, and effectively supports people and their families.
|Towards Zero Suicide is||Towards Zero Suicide is not|
|A journey towards zero suicides as an aspirational goal||Achieving a target or a zero tolerance approach|
|A long-term improvement approach||A quick fix|
|Understanding and acceptance that suicidal feelings can change, do change, and that with effective intervention and support, suicides for people in contact with healthcare services, are preventable||Believing that suicides are inevitable|
|Working systematically to identify those at risk through consistent and effective screening||Making assumptions about what someone may be thinking or feeling|
|Working together with consumers presenting in distress, providing a safe space and listening non-judgementally||Knowing what is best for someone else|
|Learning organisations that listen non-judgementally and involve everyone in developing solutions, even when things go wrong||Fault-finding and seeking someone to blame when things go wrong|
The following animation, developed by David W Covington LPC, is a Zero Suicide Healthcare call to action.
A framework to support effective implementation has been developed by the Zero Suicide Centre in the United States. This Zero Suicide Toolkit consists of seven elements:
An effective Restorative Just Culture provides a foundation to effective suicide care. A Restorative Just Culture engages with people receiving care and support, their families and staff providing the Care and support to develop a culture of trust, learning, support and accountability.
A Restorative Just Culture provides a working environment which actively promotes and fosters good mental wellbeing for staff, even when things go wrong. Staff feel supported to raise concerns, contribute their viewpoint and receive timely support when they need it.
This type of culture focuses on recovery, healing and learning for all. When something goes wrong, the following questions are asked:
Everyone impacted is involved in understanding what happened and contributes to organisational learning.
See the infographic explaining the key elements of Restorative Just Culture (PDF 118KB).
The leadership of people with lived experience is central to the Towards Zero Suicide approach.
Tracey tells her story in this short video produced by the Zero Suicide Institute of Australasia.
System-wide culture change means engaging with staff to develop and implement a culture based on restorative principles that work for everyone.
The Towards Zero Suicide Project is working with the South Australia’s Local Health Networks and Primary Health Networks to implement evidence informed practices in line with the approach over the next four years.
Anita Porter, Senior Project Officer, Office of the Chief Psychiatrist