Projects » SPA Members and Experts Forum 2009
The first SPA Members & Experts Forum was held at Harbours Edge Events Centre in Sydney on Monday, 14th December 2009. The forum was established primarily to ensure the voices of SPA members were being heard in a policy setting after the restructuring of the SPA Board to a smaller professional group of Directors.
Over sixty people attended the forum which comprised of SPA members, partner organisations and people with lived experience of suicide or self-harm. This represented a 20% increase in participants than originally planned.
Julie McCrossin, National TV and Radio Presenter, was the facilitator for the day. Senator Rachel Siewert, Chair, Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee, and Senator Claire Moore, Deputy Chair, Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee attended the SPA Members & Expert Forum. The Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee is responsible for the Inquiry into Suicide in Australia.
Key speakers included:
- Dr Michael Dudley, SPA Chair
- Dawn O’Neil AM, CEO, Lifeline Australia
- Adjunct Professor John Mendoza, Chair, National Advisory Council on Mental Health
- Caroline Aebersold, SPA Vice Chair & facilitator of the National Committee for Standardised Reporting of Suicide
- Tara Pritchard, Director, Health and Vital Statistics, Australian Bureau of Statistics
- Emeritus Professor Ian Webster, Chair, Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council
- Chris Killick-Moran, Director, Suicide Prevention Programs Section, Department of Health and Ageing, Australian Government.
The day was just not spent listening to presentations. There were many personal stories bravely shared and one through a musical performance piece. The audience participation was robust.
The current SPA Research and Policy Development agenda was endorsed by the forum. Other priorities to emerge from the forum included:
- Stigma and suicide
- Social inclusion
- Suicide: chronic illness and disability
- Youth and school-based education
- Suicide in the workforce (professionals at risk)
- Media, social marketing and community awareness.