Frequently Asked Questions


LifeSpan

What is LifeSpan? +

LifeSpan is a new, evidence-based approach to suicide prevention. It combines nine strategies that have strong evidence for suicide prevention into one community-led approach. For each strategy, LifeSpan selects and implements the interventions or programs that have the strongest evidence-base.

LifeSpan is about the community working together to prevent suicides by implementing the strategies that work, and helping people in the local community to be better informed and connected.

LifeSpan aims to build a safety net for the community by connecting and coordinating new and existing interventions and supports, and building the capacity of people to better support people facing a suicide crisis.

LifeSpan takes a community-wide approach to suicide prevention. This means it looks at actions that are suitable for every member of the local community rather than targeting specific groups who may be vulnerable to suicide.

Is LifeSpan a New Intervention or Group of Interventions? +

LifeSpan is a new approach. It enhances existing programs and introduces additional programs that have the strongest evidence in reducing outcomes relating to suicidality. Where there are significant gaps in services, LifeSpan aims to address them using evidence-based strategies. LifeSpan does not intentionally replace anything existing, nor does it act like a service like a headspace centre.

What Is LifeSpan Doing to Address Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide? +

LifeSpan recognises that there are unique needs to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait islander communities. As LifeSpan is a universal approach, it is not necessarily appropriate for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities. We endorse the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) report recommendations which state that a systems based approach is ideal, but needs to be adapted for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. We therefore recommend to all of our trial sites that they follow the ATSISPEP recommendations in the delivery of any LifeSpan initiatives for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.

Furthermore, we are working with Indigenous communities to design an Indigenous systems-based model, based on the recommendations of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) recommendations and community consultation. This work is being driven by our partnership with the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health at the University of Western Australia and the authors of the ATSISPEP report such as Professor Pat Dudgeon. We hope that this work will inform our efforts to support community-led suicide prevention trials in Darwin and the Kimberley where Indigenous suicide prevention is a focus.

What is LifeSpan Doing to Address Male Suicide? +

There is definite overrepresentation of males in rates of suicide deaths. If we look at the scientific evidence and look at the advocacy groups it is difficult to define evidence based answers. So we have a range of universal approaches and we are also keen to review emerging evidence with regards to male suicide. What we do know is that men use more lethal means for suicide and this is being addressed through the means restriction aspect.

We are also addressing this through our ‘Communities to recognise and respond’ strategy where we are recommending QPR, which has shown evidence for improved attitudes towards help seeking.

This is also addressed through the implementation of StepCare which is being recommended as part of ‘Equipping primary care to identify and support people in distress’. This strategy aims to get more men to disclose their suicidality by building capacity among GPs to ask the question.

How do you know it’ll work, LifeSpan hasn’t been tested? +

We have identified that the programs that we are recommending individually have evidence that have outcomes relating to lower suicidality.

There is also evidence to suggest that systems approaches to suicide prevention do work. For example, the European Alliance Against Depression is a systematic approach to suicide prevention and there have been positive outcomes in relation to that project. But additionally, what we are doing is everything the EAAD is doing, but we have added more strategies that have evidence to support lower suicidal outcomes.

In saying that, LifeSpan within our 4 trial regions is a high fidelity research trial and part of this is investigating which aspects do work best. Given the previous evidence for systematic approaches, we are looking forward to the results that LifeSpan may bring.

Furthermore, the Commonwealth trial sites are trying adaptations for particular populations. For example, in Darwin and the Kimberley, there is a heavy focus on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders. In North Melbourne they are trying out an LGBTI adaptation and Townsville have a particular focus on Veterans.

The learnings from all of these trial sites and adaptations can be used to inform future suicide prevention activities.

Where Are The LifeSpan Trial Sites +

We are implementing in 4 trial sites and assisting 12 commonwealth sites in implementing the best evidence based programs that have been shown to reduce suicidality outcomes relating to suicide. Some of these sites are using LifeSpan, some are using the European Alliance Against Depression, some are using ATSISPEP and some are combining strategies. We believe firmly in the need for regions to fully explore options and evidence before developing a local strategy and we support them to do this through funding from the Commonwealth government.

Who developed it? +

LifeSpan has been developed on behalf of the NSW Mental Health Commission by the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention (CRESP) and Black Dog Institute. Development involved extensive collaboration and input from partners across the sector and lived experience representatives.

How was it developed? +

LifeSpan was developed using the most up-to-date evidence available. It draws from positive results of similar large-scale, effective suicide prevention programs overseas which involved multiple strategies, delivered simultaneously in an integrated fashion. In addition, input was obtained from people with lived experience, government agencies, mental health advocacy groups and certain workforces.

While there is strong evidence demonstrating the individual positive effects of each of the nine strategies included within the LifeSpan model, several large, international studies have demonstrated greater reductions to suicide rates where multiple suicide prevention strategies have been delivered in an integrated, systems-based approach.

How does it work? +

LifeSpan involves the implementation of nine evidence-based suicide prevention strategies, at the same time, within a community setting using a collaborative, integrated approach.
The evidence suggests that implementation of the LifeSpan model will reduce suicide deaths by at least 20% and suicide attempts by 30%.

For more information on the nine strategies, click here to visit the 'Strategies' page.

Do each of the LifeSpan strategies have equal importance? +

When implemented as part of the LifeSpan model, each strategy is important. Research suggests that some strategies have a bigger impact on reducing deaths by suicide than others. GP capacity building, access to mental health therapies and gatekeeper training are most likely to have an impact on suicide deaths. Coordinated aftercare following a suicide attempt, and access to effective mental health therapies, are likely to have the biggest impact on reducing suicide attempts.

Does LifeSpan have specific strategies for high risk communities? +

The nine strategies are suitable for any group within the Australian population. However, the strategies do need to be tailored to the needs of local communities and high risk populations.

For the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, this may mean specialist training for GPs and other gatekeepers, as well as inclusion of Aboriginal health workers and community members within local suicide prevention teams. In each region delivering LifeSpan, community leaders and organisations will work together with Black Dog Institute to tailor the approaches, ensuring they are culturally relevant to and led by the local community.

How can I get involved? +

If you are a community member and would like to get involved, please visit http://www.lifespan.org.au for more information and sign up to our mailing list. If you are part of a Primary Health Network, we are eager to disseminate our knowledge to date but this requires resourcing. Please get your PHN to contact us at suicideprevention@blackdog.org.au.

 

Question Persuade Refer (QPR)

What is QPR? +

Question Persuade and Refer (QPR) is an evidence-based training program which provides:

• knowledge and skills to identify warning signs that someone may be suicidal
• confidence to talk to that person about suicidal thoughts
• awareness and ability to refer to available supports.

How long does the training take to complete? +

The self-paced session takes 60-90 minutes on average to complete and does not need to be completed in a single sitting – you can take as long as you like and take a break as you need.

What will the training cover? +

QPR online and QPR face-to-face cover the following content:

• common myths and misconceptions about suicide
• warning signs of suicide (direct verbal, indirect verbal, behavioural, situational)
• how to ask the suicide question (direct and less direct methods)
• how to persuade someone to stay alive
• how to refer individuals to help.

How much does it cost? +

Free if you live within the Murrumbidgee LifeSpan regions. For those who live outside these regions, the cost is $10 per person.

Can I purchase more than one license at a time? (E.g. if I would like to organise QPR online training for my organisation or community group.) +

Yes, you can purchase as many licenses as you like! If you are looking to organise QPR online training for your workplace, we can help! Please get in touch via lifespan@mphn.org.au.

How do I purchase QPR online? +

QPR online can be purchased directly from https://lifespanmurrumbidgee.org.au/qpr. Simply enter your postcode and click on the 'Purchase QPR' button.

How do I access the training? +

QPR online licenses can be purchased by clicking here. Once you have purchased a license, you will receive a confirmation email which includes your:

• username
• password
• link to QPR online training website.

If you are having any difficulties logging into your account, please contact lifespan@mphn.org.au.

What resources will I need to complete the training? +

All you need to complete QPR online is your username/password and access to a computer or mobile device with internet connection.

Suicide prevention training can bring up strong emotions. How are people completing QPR online be supported to seek help if they need it? +

At all times during the QPR online training, there will be a 'Need Help' option which will refer the participant to support lines.

I have recently been personally affected by suicide. Is it safe for me to do the training? +

Community suicide prevention training aims to teach individuals the warnings signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond. These trainings are not recommended for individuals recently bereaved by suicide, as it is not a therapy or support group, but an education session to learn how to support others.

If you or someone you know is in need of more urgent care, please contact:

AccessLine on 1800 800 944
Lifeline on 13 11 14
beyondblue Support Service 1300 224 365
Or visit ‘Get Help’ for more options.


QPR online for organisations

How will we know if the training has been effective? +

We are able to provide a summary of the impact of the training exclusively for your organisation. This draws upon the results of online surveys that are built-in to the training. The evaluation focuses on staff knowledge and attitudes towards suicide and help-seeking, as well as their confidence to identify and support people at risk of suicide.

Is there a discount for not-for-profit organisations or organisations buying a large number of licenses? +

We are pleased to be able to currently offer the QPR training for free if you live within the Murrumbidgee LifeSpan regions. For those who live outside this region, the cost is $10 per person. This is already a significantly discounted rate, with the normal rate being $35 per person.

Can the training be done in groups? +

We strongly advise that the QPR online training be done individually. This allows people to complete the training at their own pace, take a break if they find the training brings up difficult emotions, repeat sections of the training they are particularly interested in, and confidentially seek help via the recommendations that are built-in to the online training. Doing the training individually also provides each person with a personalised certificate of completion. And importantly, the evidence for QPR online training reducing suicide deaths only comes from when it is done individually.

We do recommend incorporating two briefing sessions – one before staff do the training, and another afterwards. These can be done in groups, and provide a great opportunity to check in with staff, seek feedback, and link the QPR training with existing organisational supports (e.g. Employee Assistance Programs).

How does an individual in our organisation access the training? +

Individuals will simply need to use their username and password to log in to the QPR training website (http://lifespanresearch.qprtraining.com/).

Specific details of how to log in are included in a QPR Instructional Email Template we provide to organisations during orientation and planning.

Suicide prevention training can bring up strong emotions. How are people completing QPR online supported to seek help if they need it? +

QPR online may bring up strong emotions, but it is not expected to cause significant distress. The training can be done over multiple sittings, which enables people to pause and take a break as needed. There are also details for support services built-in throughout the training, and a list of these services is also available to provide staff in hardcopy.

We do recommend incorporating two briefing sessions – one before staff do the training, and another afterwards. These can be done in groups, and provide a great opportunity to check in with staff, seek feedback, and link the QPR training with existing organisational supports (e.g. Employee Assistance Programs).

Myself or one of my staff members has recently been personally affected by suicide. When is it safe to do the training? +

Community suicide prevention training aims to teach individuals the warnings signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond. These trainings are not recommended for individuals recently bereaved by suicide, as it is not a therapy or support group, rather an education session to learn how to support others.

For some resources that may be helpful in the aftermath of a recent suicide, please click here.

If you or someone you know is in need of more urgent care, please contact:
AccessLine on 1800 800 944
Lifeline on 13 11 14
beyondblue Support Service 1300 224 365
Or refer to your internal EAP service.

What are the IT requirements for the training? +

To complete QPR online, staff will need access to a computer or mobile device with internet connection.

Check your firewall: Some organisations may have IT systems in place which block access to the QPR training website. Please check all staff members can access the training at work by sending the QPR online training website link (http://lifespanresearch.qprtraining.com/) to your IT team.


Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM)

Is YAM evidence-based? What is the evidence for YAM? +

Yes.

The Black Dog Institute reviewed Australian and international school programs with the best evidence of reducing suicidal behaviour. Analysis of YAM shows significant improvements in youth mental health by effectively reducing depression, conduct problems, hyperactivity, suicide attempts, severe suicidal ideation and suicide plans. It has also been shown to facilitate healthy lifestyle choices by young people.

For more information, see http://www.y-a-m.org/research/.

Can a representative from the school be present during the YAM sessions? +

YAM developers stipulate that trainers and helpers must be external to the school in which the program is being delivered. A key objective of YAM is to provide participants with a safe space where they can openly discuss any issue they want. The YAM developers believe that school staff participation is an obstacle to open and sincere communication and should be avoided without exception. The evidence supports this belief, with sessions run with school staff in the room being less effective.

What about students who are at risk of suicide, should they be doing the YAM program and will there be a screening process? +

YAM does not screen students as it is a universal preventative program. However for the purpose of the LifeSpan research study, screening will be conducted in five schools. School staff and parents will be made aware if screening will be conducted in their school.

Students identified as at risk, through screening or by school staff, need to be referred for follow up and treatment but can continue to participate in the program.

YAM is not a treatment program. However, no negative effects have been observed for at-risk students who have continued to participate in YAM.

How will students at risk be supported? +

Research has shown that YAM does not pose any increased risk for participating students, nor does it result in an increase in demand for mental health services. Mandatory reporting procedures, should this be required, will be followed by YAM instructors as departmental staff who will advise the principal of any student identified at risk of harm.

Does YAM fit in with the current Wellbeing Framework for Schools? +

YAM supports the cognitive, emotional, social and physical wellbeing of students and can contribute to the school’s planned approach to wellbeing.

What information and resources are available to assist the implementation of YAM? +

A range of resources have been developed to help roll out YAM in schools:

• sample permission notes which can be customised locally by each school
• information flyers for parents and community
• sample risk assessment: a YAM risk assessment will be available to be adapted to the school context. The YAM Coordinator will be available to assist the school.