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A new program has launched in Adelaide to support survivors of attempted suicide to get back on track.

The Way Back Support Service designed by Beyond Blue and delivered in collaboration between AnglicareSA and Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN), will provide one-on-one support to survivors for up to three months after they leave the Royal Adelaide Hospital and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

With an increase in demand for suicide support services in South Australia, AnglicareSA Suicide Prevention and Grief Support Manager Michael Traynor said the new program, will bolster AnglicareSA’s established suicide support services.

“We already provide significant specialist support to people across South Australia via our Living Beyond Suicide program and Suicide Prevention Service, but with our team working over capacity, we’ve been in desperate need for more funding and resources,” he said.

“2020 was a challenging and uncertain year for many of us, so it’s more vital than ever that we continue to have the right support services available for people during times of need.

“In welcoming a team of five support workers, the new program will more than double our capacity to support people who have had a recent suicide attempt.”

John Mendoza, CALHN Executive Director for Mental Health, said the program will initially be trialed at the Royal Adelaide Hospital’s emergency department (ED) and mental health unit, with plans to expand to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and community mental health teams.

“This program will help us to provide improved continuity of care to around 10 per cent of emergency department mental health presentations at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital with suicidal behaviour or assessed as high risk of suicide, Mr Mendoza said.

“That’s around 700 people a year who will benefit from this specialist support, in addition to a range of ED avoidance and community care programs CALHN has implemented over the past year.”

The suicide prevention program will support hundreds of South Australians each year.
Each year the new program will support hundreds of Adelaideans who have attempted suicide.

The Way Back Support Service helps survivors with practical measures like finding the best support for their specific issues.

Support coordinators will assist those referred by the two central hospitals to the service to stay safe and well by: supporting their discharge from hospital, creating an individualised safety plan, and providing connections to financial counselling and/or community-based support services.

“The first three months after a suicide attempt is when a person is most at risk of attempting again,” Mr Traynor said.

“By intervening, we can reduce this risk and work with the person to develop tailor-made plans to help eliminate or reduce the stressors and build the life skills to adapt.”

The Way Back Support Service supports people who have attempted suicide in Central Adelaide.
The Way Back Support Service supports people in the Central Adelaide Local Health Network.

The program will initially be trialled in the Royal Adelaide Hospital’s emergency department and mental health unit, then be rolled out to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and community mental health teams.

Operating between 9am–5pm Monday to Friday, the service can be accessed by calling 1300 077 798.

The Way Back Support Service has been developed by Beyond Blue and is co-funded by the Commonwealth Government and SA Health through Adelaide Primary Health Network and the Office for the Chief Psychiatrist. The service in Adelaide is part of a roll out nationally, with 33 sites being planned across Australia.

Learn more AnglicareSA’s suicide prevention support services.