Towards Zero Suicides

An opportunity for substantial change

The Towards Zero Suicides initiatives provide a unique opportunity for the Collaborative, in partnership with the ISLHD and the PHN, to bring together a rich and diverse group of stakeholders to collaborate with the common purpose of designing more effective, efficient, and sustainable supports for people in suicidal crisis.

A local co-design process will determine the shape of three initiatives:

1) Zero suicides in care will support the re-design of current services to prevent suicides among people accessing public mental health services, whether they be within hospitals or in the community.

2) Safe Spaces will provide an alternative to ED for people experiencing a suicidal crisis. Safe Spaces will provide a welcoming, non-clinical environment for people to connect with peer workers and find information about a range of other supports.

3) Assertive Suicide Prevention Outreach Teams providing assertive immediate and follow-up care for people in the community experiencing a suicidal crisis.

These new services will be funded by NSW Ministry of Health, but delivered locally by the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and non-government organisations.


How can you get involved?

The Safe Spaces will be the first initiative to be co-designed, commencing in May 2020.

Critically, the Safe Space must be designed through a genuine collaboration between those who provide supports and those who use them. This is essential to making sure these new services meet the needs of our community, complement existing supports, and reach those who are struggling but not already connecting with local supports.

If you would like to get involved with the co-design or stay up to date with its progress, please click here to express interest.

Note: EOIs for participating in the co-design via online focus groups have now closed, however EOIs to participate via 'Feedback loops' will remain open for the length of the co-design process.

‘Feedback loops’ will occur at three key points in the co-design process and will involve:

  • Live webinar - co-design facilitators will talk you through the output from the co-design so far, and answer any of your questions.
  • Online surveys – you will be given a week to process the output from the co-design and have your say via online surveys.

Feedback Loop 1 is currently underway! Click here for more information.

Key dates

Safe Spaces: Alternatives to ED  
Co-design process May 2020 - June 2020
Focus groups EOIs close Closed
Feedback loop 1 20th - 26th May 2020
Feedback loop 2 3rd - 8th June 2020
Feedback loop 3 12th - 16th June 2020
Assertive Suicide Prevention Outreach Teams TBC
Zero Suicides in Care TBC


Key documents / resources


What should I consider before deciding to participate?

Even with the best intentions, co-design processes don’t always live up to people’s expectations. This can happen for a range of reasons, including time pressure and a lack of resources. More importantly, when there isn’t a commitment by everyone involved to genuine co-design values and principles, not only are services not being improved, it can lead to increased cynicism about the possibility of change.

A person with lived experience who was involved in a recent local co-design project who had felt “shut down and ignored” by the health system in the past, felt further let down by having their expectations raised, then finding out the service model didn’t reflect the ideas generated through the designing phase. The same experience can be felt by health professionals who share their own experiences and ideas.

While there is a genuine commitment to co-design by the various decision-makers and managers in the local region, it is important for people to be aware of the potential challenges before deciding to participate. However, it is important to remember that there will be lots of opportunities for participants to provide feedback throughout the process, feedback loops are built in to check that our understanding of people’s input is right, and we commit to sharing what we know about the ‘hard boundaries’ of these initiatives as soon as we know them.

We will also be undertaking an evaluation of the co-design process itself, and strongly encourage participants to send feedback on how the process is going for you at any time to the Collaborative (click here to contact us).

How can I participate?

There are a number of options for how you can contribute including:

  • Online focus groups
  • Online webinars & surveys
  • Sharing output from the co-design with your networks; and
  • Staying informed via email.

Spaces for the online focus groups are limited. Participants will be chosen in a way that makes sure we are drawing together a diverse group of people to represent the Illawarra Shoalhaven from a lived experience and health professional perspective.

All contributions will be regarded equally – whether you contribute via a focus group, online webinars or surveys.

What will be expected of me?
  • Be fully informed and prepared to contribute – this includes accessing information on the Collaborative’s website:
    • Watching the Orientation webinar.
    • Reading the Ministry of Health’s Guidance documents.
    • Updates on co-design process and the draft service model being produced.
  • Make time to participate
  • Commitment to the values and principles of co-design, including a commitment to:
    • work towards solutions and actively contributing ideas about how to improve supports (instead of just criticising how things are now).
    • openness and curiosity and to respecting others as equal partners.
  • Be honest and open about your experiences and perspectives – but only as much as you feel comfortable doing.
  • Tell others about the project and its outcomes so that the whole community can be involved in supporting the new service and providing feedback in order to keep improving it.
  • Be able to let someone know if you need support (see ‘What supports are available’ for example support options).
  • Participate in the evaluation process, including completing online surveys for focus group participants.
  • Send feedback about the co-design process to the Collaborative as soon as possible so that it can be improved.
  • Have fun!
What supports are available?

We encourage all participants to reflect on what supports are available for you prior to getting involved so you can lean on them if you need to at any time during the co-design process. These supports could be natural supports, like friends and family, or support services.

If you are in need of additional support you can find a list of available support services on the 'Need Help' page (click here).

If you are having trouble with the process itself please contact the Collaborative (click here).

How can I provide feedback on the co-design process?

Evaluation of the co-design process will include participant surveys for online focus group / co-design session participants, as well as the option for all participants to provide feedback throughout.

We strongly encourage participants to send feedback on how the process is going for you at any time to the Collaborative (click here to Contact us).

Can I invite others to be involved?

You are welcome to share this opportunity with anyone who may like to get involved: