Victoria University Suicide Prevention Program
October 2022 - September 2022
The Victoria University Suicide Prevention Project aimed to build the capacity of the Victoria University (VU) workforce and student population to recognise and respond to people at risk of suicide, and to put these skills to work within the university and broader community.
The project was delivered in several stages:
- Upskilling the VU workforce to deliver the suicide prevention training programs ASIST and safeTALK.
- Increasing the capability of the student wellbeing program to respond to students experiencing suicidal distress.
- Equipping the student population with the tools to recognise and respond to suicide risk.
The project achieved its aims. It improved staff and student literacy and understanding about recognising and responding to suicide risk, and how to utilise these skills across the community in professional and personal capacities.
Staff of the Bachelor of Nursing course were trained in safeTALK and became safeTALK facilitators.
Student wellbeing staff were training, and some became ASIST facilitators.
safeTALK was embedded into the mental health unit of the Bachelor of Nursing course curriculum.
The VU student mental health strategy was adapted to include recruitment and training of easily identifiable student and staff wellbeing ambassadors.
Training sessions focused on building ambassadors’ understanding of how and where to access wellbeing programs and services, how to co-create and co-design health promotion programs, and how to deliver health promotion programs and activities.
Training in the “Question, Persuade and Refer” suicide prevention model was delivered to VU students undertaking a Bachelor of Nursing in the mental health unit.
Feedback from students indicated that training is beneficial, aiding a stronger connection to the VU counselling and wellbeing team.
The student wellbeing unit reported an increase in students accessing the service, ensuring appropriate support is provided when needed, reducing levels of suicidal risk.
The student wellbeing team reported an increase in confidence to recognise and respond to suicidal distress.
By embedding suicide prevention training throughout the Bachelor of Nursing and the wellbeing program, VU has made a commitment to taking a suicide prevention approach that is sustainable beyond the contract term of this activity.