Media Release: Eastern Melbourne PHN and the Victorian Government team up to support local

19 December, 2016

Suicide is a tragedy that affects too many lives across our community, and has been identified as a priority for action by both federal and state governments.

The Victorian Minister for Mental Health, the Hon Martin Foley MP today announced a suicide prevention partnership with federally funded Eastern Melbourne PHN, which will target local communities that are disproportionately impacted by suicide.

Eastern Melbourne PHN (EMPHN) has been working closely with the Victorian Government to identify areas (places) across the Eastern Melbourne region where individuals and communities are most at risk and planning practical ways that these communities can be better supported.

The result is an initiative that will see a joint investment of more than $700,000 across the Whittlesea and Maroondah areas, with EMPHN contributing over $200,000 of the total to support the City of Maroondah to further extend the program announced by the Minister.

"We want to foster a sense of recovery and hope in the community", said EMPHN CEO Robin Whyte.

"This investment by Eastern Melbourne PHN will coordinate and better focus the efforts of those in our community who are tasked with supporting those at risk of suicide, or those who are impacted by the suicide of a community member."

Through this joint initiative EMPHN will lead the development of place-based approaches to preventing suicide by bringing together local stakeholders and community members to identify current service gaps and promoting opportunities for suicide prevention.

Strategies will include initiatives such as raising awareness of mental health issues and support services, school-based programs and frontline staff training. Local coordinators will work on the ground at each of the sites to link local actions and to implement evidence-based strategies. The investment targets:

  •  Training GPs to assess depression and other mental illness;
  •  Suicide Prevention Support training for frontline staff including police ambulance ;
  •  Gatekeeper training for people likely to come into contact with at risk individuals;
  •  School based peer support and MH literacy programs;
  •  Community suicide prevention awareness program;
  •  Responsible suicide prevention reporting by media; and
  •  Reducing access to lethal means of suicide

Anyone experiencing distress or suicidal thoughts can ring Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.


Media Enquires: Ben Walkenhorst, Acting Senior Manager Marketing & Communications T: 03 9046 0313 M: 0408 374 107 E:

Click here for the Victorian Minister for Health Media Release.