The Paul Ramsay Foundation has announced its first major grant of $14.7 million towards a program involving a charity and multiple local stakeholders who will take a collaborative ‘systems approach’ to stopping suicides.
A $14.7 million donation from the Paul Ramsay Foundation has been announced that will support an evidence-based program to be run by a major suicide prevention charity with key stakeholders in local areas, including healthcare providers, emergency services, educators, community groups and other nonprofits.
The donation made to the Black Dog Institute will help the charity implement and evaluate new ‘systems-based approach’ to suicide prevention at four NSW locations over the next six years – with a view to ultimately rolling it out nationally. The approach entails the simultaneous implementation of nine strategies that target suicide risk via medical and social interventions.
The gift is the largest philanthropic donation to support suicide prevention activities in Australia. It is also the first major grant of the Paul Ramsay Foundation, which was established by the Australian businessman known for building hospitals across Australia, the US, UK and Hong Kong, and received a bequest from him worth around $3 billion when he passed away in 2014.
“We are extraordinarily grateful for the Paul Ramsay Foundation for acknowledging the strength of the evidence and the severity of the problem,” said Professor Helen Christensen, Director of the Black Dog Institute and the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention.
The NSW Mental Health Commissioner John Feneley said new initiatives were urgently needed because of the persistently high suicide rate. Over 2,500 Australians die by suicide each year and an additional 65,000 make an attempt.
“This extraordinary donation lets researchers kick-start an approach that the international evidence suggests has every chance of being highly effective,” he said. “It is about combining things that are already known to work. What we don’t yet know is exactly how many deaths and suicide attempts we can prevent when we pursue all these proven elements together in a wraparound, community-based response.”
Its CEO Simon Freeman said the Paul Ramsay Foundation was delighted to be getting behind a project it considers vital to save lives and draw attention to an area of critical need.
“Our Board of Directors highlighted mental health as one of the key areas they wanted the foundation to focus on,” he said. “Therefore it is absolutely fitting that this is the first major grant that we have committed.”
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