The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System recommended that the Victorian Government develop a suicide prevention and response strategy to better prevent and respond to suicide. The Mental Health and Wellbeing Division in the Victorian Department of Health provided a Discussion Paper for stakeholders to respond to.
In its submission, FARE noted that suicide is complex, with multiple, inter-related contributing risk factors, including the use of alcohol and other substances. Alcohol has a clear association with the risk of suicidality, and the role of alcohol in suicidality interacts with other risk factors. There are also strong associations between risky or dependent alcohol use and mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety. FARE supported the vision, priority groups and areas, and principles outlined in the Discussion Paper. FARE also suggested additional principles about factors contributing to increased risk of suicide, social and commercial determinants of health, a preventive health approach and awareness-raising about links between alcohol and suicide and poor mental health. FARE also suggested adding initiatives on reducing harm from alcohol, adequately funding alcohol and other drug (AOD) services, and some suggestions around reducing stigma associated with suicide.