Projects » 4th Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the International Association for Suicide Prevention
The 4th Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) was jointly hosted by Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) and The Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP).
The “Suicide Prevention: A Dialogue Across Disciplines and Cultures” Conference was fortunate to have as Patron, the 2010 Australian of the Year, Professor Patrick McGorry who presented along with other distinguished speakers such as Dr Lanny Berman, IASP Chair, Professor Diego De Leo, Dr Michael Dudley, Dr Murad Khan and many others.
The aim of the conference was to create a much needed discussion about the issue and to share new ideas, successes and challenges from a broad national and international perspective. Not only did we aim to create a discussion from the conference, but we hoped to achieve a plan and direction for the Asia Pacific Region as a whole to move forward in suicide prevention.
The conference was held in Brisbane at the Sofitel Hotel and ran from Wednesday 17th – Saturday 20th November, 2010. The conference consisted of a mixture of:
- Main plenary sessions
- Streaming sessions
- Master classes
- Welcome reception
- Opening ceremony
- Social events
- Closing ceremony
This was an exciting, innovative and educational conference with a clear message and focus on ALL aspects of suicide prevention. This was derived from the recommendations from the 3rd Asia Pacific Regional Conference. Some of these recommendations were:
- There needed to be some focus on bereavement
- There needed to be more focus on postvention
- There needed to be a stream for suicide attempt survivors
- There needed to be master classes
This conference focused on not only science, but evidence based programs, research and those who have experienced the affects of suicide firsthand (carers/consumers).
More than 420 delegates from over 36 countries attended the conference – a record number for the IASP Asia Pacific Regional Conferences. The conference was opened by Prime Minister Julia Gillard; an encouraging token to see her acknowledgment and commitment to the prevention of suicide in this country.
During the four days, delegates were privileged to hear from international and national experts within the suicide prevention field as well as being involved with the sharing of personal stories from those with lived experience. This combination of evidence based research, practical models and those who have lived through (first hand) the tragedy of suicide, was extremely powerful and well received by the delegates.
The delegates were entertained at various social events including the Opening Ceremony with an Aboriginal dance troupe, Welcome Reception at the Queensland Art Gallery with Opera singers and a dinner cruise on the beautiful Brisbane River followed by dancing.
The new Minister for Mental Health, Mark Butler attended and presented at the Closing Ceremony, which was followed by an amazing Remembrance Ceremony.
Feedback from the conference delegates has been overwhelmingly positive and that the conference, by mixing research, practice, bereavement and postvention together, as well as personal stories, has set a new benchmark for meetings to come – something that Australia should take pride in.