Minister for Health and Aged Care Sussan Ley and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Dan Tehan will visit Townsville later this week to discuss the incidence of suicide among current and former members of the ADF and hear ideas that will help shape a new landmark suicide prevention trial in the region.
Representatives from defence and veterans’ associations, health service providers and local community groups will attend Wednesday’s roundtable discussion.
Mr Tehan said the Turnbull Government was working with local and regional stakeholders to establish a Suicide Prevention Trial Site in Townsville.
“The Townsville trial will be led by the North Queensland Primary Health Network,” Mr Tehan said.
“As part of its work, the trial will focus on veterans’ mental health.
“This is one of 12 innovative, front-line trials in our fight against suicide which will improve understanding of the challenges and work to develop best-practice services which we can apply nationwide.
“The Turnbull Government is committed to supporting the mental health of all Australians.
“The suicide prevention trial in Townsville is part of a $34 million commitment to fund and evaluate 12 suicide-prevention trial sites nationally.”
Minister for Health Sussan Ley said consultation and collaboration would be critical to the success of the trial in Townsville.
“The involvement of veterans’ organisations, local service providers, and health professionals is essential if we are going to tackle the incidence of suicide among current and former members of the ADF,” Minister Ley said.
“That’s why we’ll be talking directly with the local community and service providers to understand what’s currently working on the ground in garrison communities, like Townsville, and to seek their advice in designing and planning the trial.”
Minister Tehan said the suicide prevention trial site was another important initiative in the government’s campaign to address suicide.
“The veterans’ focus of the Townsville trial site will be vitally important in helping to improve our understanding of the challenges and helping us to develop best practices which can be rolled out nationally,” Mr Tehan said.
“The government is committed to addressing the incidence of suicide in our community and this year we have introduced several suicide prevention initiatives for our serving and ex-serving population.
“Free mental health treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders is available now to anyone who has served for one day in the ADF.”
Mr Tehan said that during the election, the Turnbull Government committed $192 million over four years to strengthen mental health care and develop new models to better support those with severe mental illnesses and those living in rural and regional areas who are at risk of suicide.