Australian communities are crying out for information, tools and support for suicide prevention. Communities need support to establish suicide prevention groups and broad community engagement depends on having a passionate local leader as well as administrative and mental health professional support.

Communities Matter is a toolkit to support small towns and local communities to turn conversations and interest in suicide prevention into activities that reflect local need. It is a joint project of the Mental Health Commission of NSW and Suicide Prevention Australia. The toolkit outlines in plain English evidence-informed suicide prevention strategies to support communities to undertake suicide prevention activities and combat stigma. The Communities Matter toolkit was informed by a writing group of key suicide prevention experts.

In October 2013, the former NSW Minister for Mental Health launched the toolkit in Dubbo. It was subsequently trialed in the towns of Walgett and Hay. An independent evaluation showed that Communities Matter was well-received by the trial communities. The evaluation recommended that the toolkit’s wording be simpler and available on an easy to navigate website with clear practical tips about how to establish a sustainable suicide prevention community action group.

Subsequently, the Commission and SPA developed an online version of the toolkit in 2015 - this website.

Communities Matter is a valuable tool for both existing suicide prevention action groups and new emerging community groups across Australia.

Suicide Prevention Australia acknowledges and greatly appreciates important contributions to this Toolkit by the community, including: