Australia’s Universities Will Be Better Equipped to Prevent Suicide Among Employees & Students

Australia Oceania Higher Education News by Erudera News Feb 24, 2022

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Universities Australia, an organization representing Australia’s universities, along with Suicide Prevention Australia, which is the national peak body for the suicide prevention sector, has released a framework that will better equip universities in the country to intervene early to prevent suicide among their staff, students and the entire community.

According to “Suicide Prevention: A Competency Framework for Universities,” universities will be offered a structure through which early intervention is possible for staff who might consider suicide, students and staff with a lived experience of suicidal behavior, and others studying at the university who may be going through struggle or distress.

“This framework builds on the longstanding work of universities to support the positive mental health of their communities, and complements existing partnerships between universities and organisations such as Orygen, headspace and Everymind,” Universities Australia said in a media release.

Following the release of the framework, Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said it considers the role that students and staff have in dealing with risk factors in university.

“We know the devastating impact of suicide on university communities is immediate, traumatic and far-reaching,” she said.

Jackson stressed that as students return to campuses after two years of COVID-19-related disruptions to their studies, universities in Australia understand their responsibility for the health and wellbeing of their 1.5 million students and 100,000 staff.

She encouraged every university to add the framework to their existing policies so everyone who needs help in this regard will feel safe and able to access a “consistent, high-quality, and safe standard of care.”

Moreover, Suicide Prevention Australia CEO, Nieves Murray, said that the most important part of suicide prevention is to recognize the warning signs early, adding that with the framework, they are hoping to encourage more universities to facilitate these conversations, reduce the stigma, and also work towards reducing the number of deaths by suicide.

“We can never underestimate the impact that every life lost to suicide has on family, friends, workplaces and the broader community,” Murray said.

Universities Australia issued another statement recently, pointing out that country’s universities are preparing for the beginning of the semester one, welcoming also the safe return of domestic and international students on campuses.

Jackson said that about 80,000 international students have arrived in Australia after two years of studying remotely, praising their commitment to Australian education and the resilience to study online for such a long time.

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