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General News, Mental Health

In the lead up to World Suicide Prevention Day – Local community proves key to saving local lives

Wesley Mission 3 mins read

Media release                                                         8 September 2023

Local community proves key to saving local lives

With suicide deaths (ABS 2021) at more than 2.5 times the national road toll (3,144 deaths) and excessive wait times for mental health supports, unique community led Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Networks are demonstrating their effectiveness in reducing the suicide rate by seven percent on average*.

The Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Networks are community-led networks of people and organisations, working together in local areas and in at risk populations and communities. 

Wesley Mission CEO, Stu Cameron, says statistics can be confronting. “Behind every number is the life of a loved one whose loss leaves families, friends, workplaces and communities devastated.

“There is no one size fits all solution to prevent suicide. We can all make a difference by having real conversations with friends and neighbours, acknowledging the factors that increase suicidal risk, and empowering local people with local solutions in urban, suburban, regional and remote locations across Australia.

The Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Networks offer support and resources to communities, helping to prevent suicide by focusing on prevention, intervention and postvention activities. This is coupled with the Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Training workshops for community members and healthcare professionals.

According to Cameron, suicide prevention is a shared responsibility across the community, including families and friends, professional groups, government and non-government agencies.  Half of all people who die by suicide have not connected with the health system and have a level of psychosocial disconnection.

“Regardless of our job title or postcode, most of us know someone impacted by suicide; we cannot work in isolation – we must collaborate to support the resilience of Australian communities. Together, we can make a real difference.

“Until there are zero deaths by suicide Wesley LifeForce will continue to advocate, educate and empower local communities to support people impacted by suicide.

The Wesley Lifeforce Suicide Prevention Network program was established in 2007 and has grown to launch more than 130 local community groups across Australia, in areas of greatest suicide risk.

“With this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day (10 Sept) theme Creating hope through action, it’s crystal clear Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Networks are a powerful testimony to that.”


Suicide is complex and due to multiple factors

3 most occurring psychosocial risk factors were:

  • Problems in relationships with spouse or partner
  • History of self harm
  • Disruption of family by separation or divorce

ABS Data Causes of Death 2021 – release 19 October 2022

Wesley mission CEO Stu Cameron is available for interview

Media contact: Anne Holt on 0418 628 342 or 

* The University of Melbourne identified the effectiveness of these Networks in reducing suicide rates

About Wesley Mission’s Suicide Prevention work

Wesley LifeForce is a national suicide prevention program run by Wesley Mission that educates, empowers and resources local communities, supporting people most at risk. More than 40,000 people have been trained through the program during the past 15 years.

With a presence in every state, focusing on areas where the problem of suicide hits the hardest, Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Networks are community-led action groups addressing suicide at a local level. So far, there are 132 groups across Australia representing a membership of more than 2,500 people. New networks are being established every year through the support of the Commonwealth Government and Primary Health Networks.

For further information click here.


MEDIA PLEASE NOTE: Most people – including media professionals – have been touched by suicide. For safe reporting guidelines on suicide go to:


People who are experiencing distress can contact

Emergency 000          Lifeline 13 11 14         24 Hour Mental Health Line 1800 011 511

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467       13YARN 13 92 76       QLife 1800 184 527


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