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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 11 Hansard (8 December) . . Page.. 3242 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I am pleased to present this first ACT youth suicide prevention strategy. The original draft ACT youth suicide prevention strategy was produced by the ACT Youth Suicide Prevention Taskforce which was convened in late 1997 when Mrs Carnell was the Minister. The task force researched the issue of youth suicide and conducted targeted consultations. The initial recommendations were collated to form the draft ACT youth suicide prevention strategy, which was released on 30 January 1998. The draft strategy was then distributed to the ACT community for comment. More consultations were held, and comments were received in verbal and written form. The strategy was then redrafted in light of those comments.

The primary issues that arose from all of the consultation undertaken are summarised in Part 8 of the strategy. At the conclusion of this consultation process, the ACT Youth Suicide Prevention Taskforce was disbanded. The ACT Youth Suicide Prevention Group, formed in August 1998, was convened to oversee the finalisation and implementation of the strategy. As you can see, the strategy went through a thorough consultation process and is now ready to be distributed to the ACT community.

The strategy describes the national and local policy context, describes the epidemiology of the ACT, and outlines a series of strategies and actions for the future. The strategies and actions section of the document outlines what we will do under the strategy. Each action has a list of agencies whose participation in and commitment to the action will be necessary for successful implementation.

To ensure that there is accountability, each action also has a lead agency which will be responsible for ensuring the action is implemented. Each agency will report to the ACT Youth Suicide Prevention Group, which will be broadly responsible for coordinating the implementation of the strategy. This group will report to the Interdepartmental Standing Committee on Mental Health on a regular basis to ensure progress is made.

One of the actions in the strategy is to support the provision of education and training for professionals in youth suicide prevention that is affordable and accessible to a wide range of professionals working with young people. As part of the completion of this action, the Department of Health and Community Care has been considering options for expenditure of Commonwealth funding of $100,000 for education and training for professionals in youth suicide prevention.

The department has considered a wide variety of options within the parameters and principles identified by the Youth Suicide Prevention Group and its predecessor, the Youth Suicide Prevention Taskforce. A decision has been made to allocate the funds to Calvary Hospital to run a 12-month trial project called the youth suicide awareness and prevention education and training program for professionals. The program meets the needs identified by a mapping exercise on the availability of training in the ACT.

The focus of the program will be on providing outreach education, developing professional networks and providing a central ACT resource for youth suicide awareness, prevention and intervention. Professionals to be trained by the program include teachers, school counsellors, school support workers, youth and community workers,

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