Online suicide prevention training program launched

An online training program designed to provide allied health professionals with the skills and knowledge to work effectively with people at risk of suicide or serious self-harm was launched today in Brisbane by the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing.

The program was developed by the Australian Psychological Society (APS) with Federal Government funding. Formally called the ATAPS Suicide Prevention Professional Development Training program, it has been developed for allied health professionals working under the Access to Allied Psychological Services initiative. The current online training program is a substantially revised and expanded program based on a pilot program developed in 2008. 

“The impact of suicide on our community is enormous,” said APS Executive Director Professor Lyn Littlefield. “Yet there are evidence-based strategies to help people at risk of suicide and serious self-harm. The training program includes broad foundational knowledge about those at risk and evidence-based intervention strategies for working with individuals with suicidal behaviour.”

The training program draws upon experts from psychology, psychiatry, social work and occupational therapy and includes video of mental health experts working in the area of suicide and serious self-harm along with a series of case vignettes, a range of useful resources to assist those working in the area, and online forums to help facilitate networking and further discussion about training and working in the area.

The online delivery mode greatly increases the accessibility of the program to allied health professionals working in all areas of Australia across a range of different populations, including those living in rural and remote areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and young people.

“Our communities need more suicide prevention services and ensuring adequate access to services is always an issue,” said Professor Littlefield. "The program aims to up-skill local allied health professionals so they can assist their local communities wherever they are and address the needs of different groups within their communities.”

She said the training received widespread support from clinicians during piloting and its availability online directly addresses the need to increase capacity of the mental health workforce to respond to suicide and serious self-harm where it is occurring across Australia.

If you are facing an immediate crisis or need urgent assistance, contact emergency services by calling ‘Triple 0’, Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467, or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
- Ends-
For media enquiries or to find out more about the ATAPS Suicide Prevention Training, please email or call Karen Coghlan on 03 8662 6638, Rebecca Matthews on 03 8662 3358. Find us on Twitter:  @APS_Media.

The APS is the largest professional association for psychologists in Australia, representing more than 20,000 members. The APS is committed to advancing psychology as a discipline and profession. It spreads the message that psychologists make a difference to peoples’ lives, through improving psychological knowledge and community wellbeing.