Trials to help curb suicide rates


More mental health and suicide prevention services are coming closer to home for Macedon Ranges residents.

North-western Melbourne primary health network will co-ordinate a $46 million federal government pilot program to strengthen mental health and suicide prevention initiatives throughout its region, which includes the Ranges.

Other municipalities covered by this network’s region are Brimbank, Darebin, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melbourne, Melton, Moonee Valley, Moorabool, Moreland, Wyndham and Yarra.

Melbourne’ north-western network is one of 12 primary health networks involved in the pilot program around Australia, with participating organisations selected based on higher than average suicide rates in the area, as well as the local capacity to deliver mental health initiatives.

Health data from the north western Melbourne region shows a premature mortality rate of 15.8 (deaths per 100,000), compared with the national average of 12.4. This data takes into account suicide and self-inflicted injuries attributed to Macedon Ranges residents.

Suicide is the third leading cause of premature deaths in Australia.

A Macedon Ranges Suicide Prevention Network spokeswoman welcomed the federal pilot program, saying she hopes it will lead to a more consistent and evidence-based approach to suicide prevention.

Meanwhile, the Victorian government has also initiated a suicide prevention trial, which also has 12 trial sites. Macedon Ranges falls in the Murray Primary Health Network trial.

Chief executive Matt Jones said he is pleased the federal and state governments are focusing on suicide prevention.

He said there was a lot of scope to improve understanding of the factors contributing to suicide, and suicide prevention.

Anyone needing help can call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or online at