Creating Hope through Action

This September World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September) rallied worldwide support and commitment to preventing suicide within our communities. Pharmacies can take part in this message by spreading awareness about the impact of suicide and the support services available for those struggling.  

Suicide is recognised as a public health crisis in Australia and internationally.1 The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘We all have a role to play’, which echoes the International Association of Suicide Prevention’s overarching theme of ‘Creating hope through action’. The themes highlight the need for a whole community approach and a collective responsibility for suicide prevention.2

Spreading a message of hope 

More than 10 million Australians know someone who has been impacted by suicide. Committing to creating hope through action, can signal to those experiencing suicidal thoughts that there is hope and services to support them.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said in a media release3, “Suicide is a major public health problem with far-reaching social, emotional, and economic consequences. It is estimated that there are currently more than 700,000 suicides per year worldwide, and we know that each suicide profoundly affects many more people.

“By creating hope through action, we can signal to people experiencing suicidal thoughts that there is hope and that we care and want to support them. It also suggests that our actions, no matter how big or small, may provide hope to those who are struggling.

“Lastly, it serves as a reminder that suicide prevention is a public health priority and urgent action is required to make sure suicide mortality rates are reduced. WHO will continue to work with its partners to support countries to take concrete measures in this direction.”3

Integrating services 

Research supports that community-based support services and access to support are key to suicide prevention. In a study published in BMC Public Health, an average reduction in suicide rates was found following the establishment of suicide prevention networks. This supported empowering local communities to take action to prevent suicide is effective.1

This year Lifeline and On the Line (OTLA) Australia announced they are uniting their services to provide better care for those seeking help. In a media release4 Lifeline said that with the help of independent lived experience and clinical experts, Lifeline and OTLA have determined that there are considerable potential benefits of integrating OTLA’s clinical service with Lifeline’s crisis service to provide wrap-around care for the help-seeker.

Lifeline Australia CEO Colin Seery said the amalgamation signals a turn towards an integrated approach to crisis support, mental health, and suicide prevention.

“There is increasing interest from governments and the sector to improve both service quality and accessibility for help seekers by exploring the consolidation of helplines and the possibility of providing warm referrals,” Mr Seery said.

“Lifeline Australia is committed to continuing to look at ways in which we might be able to provide capability and infrastructure foundations for smaller services that are targeted towards specific, vulnerable populations.”4

Showing your support 

By raising awareness around mental health challenges and reducing the stigma around suicide pharmacies can spread the message of hope and encourage people to reach out to support services if they are struggling. Promoting suicide prevention within the pharmacy can help to raise awareness and encourage help-seeking.

By starting the conversation about suicide PAs can help people feel less alone and direct them to support services.

Suicide Prevention Australia has a number of resources available here to promote within the pharmacy:

If you need help:

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14.
  • Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636.
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467.
  • 13 YARN: 13 92 76.


  1. j. Morgan et al. ‘‘The effectiveness of an Australian community suicide prevention networks program in preventing suicide: a controlled longitudinal study’. BMC public Health. 2022.<>.
  2. Suicide Prevention Australia. ’World Suicide Prevention Day’. 2023. <org/world-suicide-prevention-day/>
  3. World Health Organisation. ‘World Suicide Prevention Day 2023’. 2023. <int/news-room/events/detail/2023/09/10/default-calendar/world-suicide-prevention-day-2023—creating-hope-through-action#:~:text=%E2%80%9CCreating%20Hope%20Through%20Action%E2%80%9D%20is,encourage%20hope%20and%20strengthen%20prevention>.
  4. ‘Lifeline Australia and On the Line Australia sign heads of agreement for a voluntary amalgamation to provide better care for help seekers’. 2023. <>.

This feature was originally published in the September issue of RPA e-magazine