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29 Nov 2019

As part of its ‘Towards Zero’ suicide prevention goal, the Federal Government has launched phase two of the Black Dog Institute’s Centre of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention (CRESP II).

Supported by a $2.5 million taxpayer investment, the centre’s research will focus on the early detection of Australians at risk of suicide.

Funded through the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the centre, located in Sydney, brings together researchers from six universities to work towards this goal.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the centre will implement a coordinated and multifaceted intervention strategy to detect people at risk of suicide earlier.

“Supporting Australia’s research in suicide prevention is critical in reducing the number of lives lost to suicide,” Mr Hunt said.

“This is a significant opportunity for Australian researchers to focus on real time suicide risk detection and prevention, providing outcomes that aim to reduce suicide rates.”

The strategy will involve the delivery of evidence-based interventions in six different contexts: schools; workplaces; online; healthcare; means restriction; and crisis and aftercare.

The centre will use smartphone and sensor technology to revolutionise prediction and response systems, by providing real-time information about suicide risk and delivering timely interventions.

The research will be led by Scientia Professor Helen Christensen AO, who is a leading expert on using technology to deliver evidence-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of depression, anxiety, suicide and self-harm.

The Minister said phase two of the centre was a critical investment that would ultimately “save lives and protect lives”.

Published: 29 Nov 2019