1.1. Program background
1.2. Program purpose, scope, objectives, outcomes and key principles
1.3. Roles and responsibilities
1.4. Anticipated key dates

1.1. Program background

The 2010 Election Commitment Mental Health: Taking Action to Tackle Suicide (TATS) package forms part of the Australian Government's commitment to mental health reform. The package comprises four streams of activity to provide more services on the ground to those at risk of suicide:
  1. Boosting frontline services to those at risk
  2. Taking action to prevent suicide and boost crisis intervention services
  3. Providing more services and support for men and
  4. Promoting good mental health for young people.
The legislative authority for the TATS package is provided by item 415.026 and 415.034 of Schedule 1AA of the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997.

Under the TATS package the Australian Government committed $30.2 million funding over four years commencing 2011-12 for the Supporting Communities to Reduce the Risk of Suicide initiative to support community-led suicide prevention activities – targeted at groups and communities which are at high risk of suicide, including Indigenous people, men, gay, lesbian and bisexual people, and families recently bereaved by suicide.

$6 million of this funding has been quarantined for activity that is specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities who are at risk of suicide.

The first tranche of funding of $1.5 million for the 2011-2012 year has been committed. $4.5 million is available 2012-13 - 2014-15 ($1.5 million per year).
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1.2. Program purpose, scope, objectives, outcomes and key principles

The purpose of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander component of the Supporting Communities to Reduce the Risk of Suicide initiative is to reduce the risk of suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities.

In September 2011, Ministers Butler, Macklin and Snowdon announced the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Advisory Group (Advisory Group).

The Advisory Group has developed and endorsed principles to underpin the initiative. These principles recommend that projects should:
  • be grounded in community, owned by the community, based on community needs and accountable to the community
  • be based on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander definitions of health incorporating spirituality, culture and healing
  • be sustainable both in terms of building community capacity and in terms of not being 'one-off'; they must endure until the community is empowered. For example provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforces and community members with tools for awareness, early identification and for responding to self harm issues within the community
  • work in genuine partnerships with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders and other providers to support and enhance existing local measures not duplicate or compete with them. Funding applications need to demonstrate a record of genuine community and stakeholder/provider consultations and a track record of community empowerment
  • be delivered in a safe manner
  • be built on learnings, try new and innovative approaches, share learnings, and improve the evidence base and
  • share learnings and these should be promoted in other communities.
Consistent with these principles, activities funded under this initiative could include training community leaders to better identify and respond to suicide, and activities to better build resilience, positive mental health and social and emotional wellbeing.

The funding is being provided to support activities which aim to:
  • reduce the risk of suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities
  • empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities through community-led suicide prevention activities and
  • provide a sustainable approach to suicide prevention activity capable of being implemented across a variety of situations and geographical settings.

1.3. Roles and responsibilities

The Grant Program Process Flowchart outlines the roles and responsibilities of each party.

The funding approver for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander component of the Supporting Communities to Reduce the Risk of Suicide initiative is the Assistant Secretary, Mental Health Early Intervention and Prevention Branch, Mental Health and Drug Treatment Division, at the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA).

Commonwealth funding will be provided to preferred applicants through a funding agreement which will detail the terms and conditions of the funding. Details of the funding agreement will be negotiated between the Commonwealth and preferred applicants following the finalisation of the selection process. Parties involved in these negotiations should ensure they are familiar with, and seek legal advice on, the terms and conditions of the funding agreement.
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1.4. Anticipated key dates

The following table outlines the anticipated timeline for the program by milestone:
  • Guidelines issued - Mid November 2012
  • Applications open - Mid November 2012
  • Applications close - Late December 2012
  • Assessment and decision - February 2013
  • Development of funding agreements - March 2013
  • Execute funding agreement - March 2013
  • Program ends - June 2015
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