From the Margins to the Mainstream: How to harness innovation to create best-practice responses to crisis and adversity?

TheMHS Forum 2023 |  21-22 March 2023  |  Mercure Sydney, Australia

Preventing suicide is an agreed national policy priority in both Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, yet strategies differ across and within both countries. Supporting people in crisis and adversity is a focus of mental health, drug and alcohol and trauma services, in a constellation of prevention approaches. While whole of government approaches bring cohesion and direction, it is often the innovation bubbling up from the grass roots that replenishes the mainstream with fresh ideas.

In this Forum we will hear State of the Nation Suicide Prevention updates from both countries and take stock of where they are leading us.

We will also go under the radar to explore the rich territory of Alternatives to Suicide and Early Intervention Programs. What is working on the ground across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand and what have been the challenges and learnings?

You will be equipped with the latest bi-national policy contexts and real-world program examples delivered by clinicians and peer workers, to help you in establishing and developing innovative programs that are responsive to people who are experiencing distress, suicidality and bereavement.

Program Outline

Day 1: Tuesday, 21 March, 2023

9am – 5pm          Day 1 of TheMHS Forum 2023

Key themes:

  • State of the Nations – Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Supporting people and communities
  • Bereavement – communication and response
  • Early intervention programs
  • Responses to crisis, climate change and natural disasters
  • Postvention programs

5.15pm – 7pm    Welcome Reception

Day 2: Wednesday, 22 March, 2023

9am – 5pm          Day 2 of TheMHS Forum 2023

Key themes:

  • Culturally safe and appropriate services
  • Young people at risk of suicide and innovative digital approaches
  • Alternatives to suicide
  • Innovation within the system and a Restorative, Just and Learning Culture

Full Program


Update on the development of the National Suicide Prevention

Michael Gardner
Head of the National Suicide Prevention Office, Mental Health Commission, Australia

Suicide Prevention Strategy Update

Matthew Tukaki
Director, Suicide Prevention Office

Suicide Prevention 10 years On: Beyond Battle Lines

Alan Woodward
Chair of Advisory Board, National Suicide Prevention Office, Australia

Alternatives to Suicide

Ellie Hodges
Executive Director and Founder LELAN (the Lived Experience Leadership & Advocacy Network)


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