Answering some frequently asked questions.

What is LifeSpan?

LifeSpan is an innovative, world-class approach to suicide prevention. Based on the most up-to-date evidence available and drawing from positive results of similar, large-scale suicide prevention programs overseas, LifeSpan involves the simultaneous implementation of nine evidence-based strategies simultaneously within a local area.

Who developed it?

LifeSpan has been developed on behalf of the NSW Mental Health Commission by the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention (CRESP) and Black Dog Institute. Development involved extensive collaboration and input from partners across the sector and lived experience representatives.

How was it developed?

LifeSpan was developed using the most up-to-date evidence available. It draws from positive results of similar large-scale, effective suicide prevention programs overseas which involved multiple strategies, delivered simultaneously in an integrated fashion. In addition, input was obtained from people with lived experience, government agencies, mental health advocacy groups and certain workforces.

While there is strong evidence demonstrating the individual positive effects of each of the nine strategies included within the LifeSpan model, several large, international studies have demonstrated greater reductions to suicide rates where multiple suicide prevention strategies have been delivered in an integrated, systems-based approach.

How does it work?

LifeSpan involves the implementation of nine evidence-based suicide prevention strategies, at the same time, within a community setting using a collaborative, integrated approach.

The evidence suggests that implementation of the LifeSpan model will reduce suicide deaths by at least 20% and suicide attempts by 30%.

For more information on the nine strategies, Click Here

Does each of the LifeSpan strategies have equal importance?

When implemented as part of the LifeSpan model, each strategy is important. Research suggests that some strategies have a bigger impact on reducing deaths by suicide than others. GP capacity building, access to mental health therapies and gatekeeper training are most likely to have an impact on suicide deaths. Coordinated aftercare following a suicide attempt, and access to effective mental health therapies, are likely to have the biggest impact on reducing suicide attempts.

How are we prioritising those nine strategies in the Central Coast? Is the priority based on the gaps in the area, or what’s working well? What do you see as a focus in the Central Coast?

This will be led by the Suicide Prevention Central Coast Alliance based on the information and data we can gather locally and which the Black Dog Institute will help us access.

Estimates from the evidence suggest that impacts will vary according to the different strategies. Aftercare is very critical, and so we would expect that some funding will be tailored to that. It will be essential that all nine strategies are implemented within an integrated, coordinated approach.

Does LifeSpan have specific strategies for high risk communities?

The nine strategies are suitable for any group within the Australian population. However, the strategies do need to be tailored to the needs of local communities and high risk populations.

For the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, this may mean specialist training for GPs and other gatekeepers, as well as inclusion of Aboriginal health workers and community members within local suicide prevention teams. In each region delivering LifeSpan, community leaders and organisations will work together with Black Dog Institute to tailor the approaches, ensuring they are culturally relevant to and led by the local community.

Means restriction? 

We will be establishing a mini-suicide register in the region as part of the LifeSpan project. QLD and VIC have suicide death registers, but these do not include suicide attempts. Establishing a suicide death AND attempt register that gives the contextual information in order to analyse and see trends over time about why people turn to suicide. If we can show that this data is useful, we can make a case for continuing to collect the data. If we can show that there are key issues, planning decisions can be made to support those areas.

There is good evidence for the role of depression in reducing resilience to significant life events or circumstances, which underlies the rise in suicide risk factors rather than life events or circumstances themselves. By increasing awareness, recognition and treatment of depression, the aim of LifeSpan is to lower suicide rates and suicidal behaviours, increasing resilience among target populations.

What is going to improve efficacy and engagement techniques in relation to male-focused suicide prevention?

LifeSpan will involve a cohort study which will recruit people through EDs who are experiencing crisis and follow them longitudinally through the LifeSpan trial. This will be a unique opportunity to pick up information about people’s experiences from each trial site and we will be able to draw information about men through this research.

We also believe that the introduction of universal screening for depression, anxiety and suicide risk through the primary care (GP) setting is an important strategy in reaching out to men who might not otherwise identify as being at risk.

Most people have social problems – are we underestimating the hierarchy of needs? There is something structurally wrong with our society, and this needs to be addressed. How can housing, income and meaningful life be more in focus? Sharing resources?

LifeSpan is a specific model and can’t do everything. The focus on the other 80% shouldn’t be diverted, but we haven’t seen a reduction in rates in this country, so a 20% reduction would be a great start.

Some of the upstream issues might be out of scope for the LifeSpan project, but are not out of scope for the Suicide Prevention Central Coast Alliance as the community (including services) defines the scope of the Suicide Prevention Central Coast Alliance. Some groups within the region are working on upstream issues (particularly for youth), and we are looking to engage with them to ensure our efforts are complementary.

There is evidence that underlying, unrecognised and untreated depression can make people less resilient to social challenges. By recognising and treating the depression, we aim to improve resilience and lower suicide risk. This does not mean that social challenges should not be addressed. PHNs and the local sector and community still have responsibility in this area, which should complement the local implementation.

What is QPR?

Question Persuade and Refer (QPR) is an evidence-based training program which provides:

  •  knowledge and skills to identify warning signs that someone may be suicidal
  •  confidence to talk to that person about suicidal thoughts
  •  awareness and ability to refer to available supports.

How long does the training take to complete?

The self-paced session takes 60-90 minutes on average to complete and does not need to be completed in a single sitting – you can take as long as you like and take a break as you need.

What will the training cover?

QPR online and QPR face-to-face cover the following content:

  • Common myths and misconceptions about suicide
  • Warning signs of suicide (direct verbal, indirect verbal, behavioural, situational)
  • How to ask the suicide question (direct and less direct methods)
  • How to persuade someone to stay alive How to refer individuals to help.

How much does it cost?

QPR Suicide Prevention Training Licences are free for a limited time only. 

Can I purchase more than one license at a time? (E.g. if I would like to organise QPR online training for my organisation or community group.)

Yes, you can purchase as many licenses as you like!

If you are looking to organise QPR online training for your workplace, we can help! Please get in touch via info@suicidepreventioncentralcoast.org.au

How do I access the training?

QPR is available online for free by Clicking Here. Once you have registered you will receive a confirmation email which includes your:

– username

– password

– link to the training

If you are having any difficulties logging into your account, please contact info@suicidepreventioncentralcoast.org.au

What resources will I need to complete the training?

All you need to complete QPR online is your username/password and access to a computer or mobile device with internet connection.

Suicide prevention training can bring up strong emotions. How are people completing QPR online supported to seek help if they need it?

At all times during the QPR online training, there will be a ‘Need Help’ option which will refer the participant to support lines.

I have recently been personally affected by suicide. Is it safe for me to do the training?

Community suicide prevention training aims to teach individuals the warnings signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond. These training packages are not recommended for individuals recently bereaved by suicide, as it is not a therapy or support group, but an education session to learn how to support others.

If you or someone you know is in need of more urgent care, please contact:

Lifeline on 13 11 14

beyondblue Support Service 1300 224 365

Or visit ‘Need Help’ for more options.

How will we know if the training has been effective?

We are able to provide a summary of the impact of the training exclusively for your organisation. This draws upon the results of online surveys that are built-in to the training. The evaluation focuses on staff knowledge and attitudes towards suicide and help-seeking, as well as their confidence to identify and support people at risk of suicide. 

Is there a discount for not-for-profit organisations or organisations buying a large number of licenses?

We are pleased to be able to currently offer the QPR training at $10 per person. This is already a significantly discounted rate, with the normal rate being $35 per person.

Can the training be done in groups?

We strongly advise that the QPR online training be done individually. This allows people to complete the training at their own pace, take a break if they find the training brings up difficult emotions, repeat sections of the training they are particularly interested in, and confidentially seek help via the recommendations that are built-in to the online training. Doing the training individually also provides each person with a personalised certificate of completion. And importantly, the evidence for QPR online training reducing suicide deaths only comes from when it is done individually.

We do recommend incorporating two briefing sessions – one before staff do the training, and another afterwards. These can be done in groups, and provide a great opportunity to check in with staff, seek feedback, and link the QPR training with existing organisational supports (e.g. Employee Assistance Programs).

How does an individual in our organisation access the training?

Individuals will simply need to use their username and password to log in to the QPR training website.  Coming Soon

Specific details of how to log in are included in a QPR Instructional Email Template we provide to organisations during orientation and planning.  

Suicide prevention training can bring up strong emotions. How are people completing QPR online supported to seek help if they need it?

QPR online may bring up strong emotions, but it is not expected to cause significant distress. The training can be done over multiple sittings, which enables people to pause and take a break as needed. There are also details for support services built-in throughout the training, and a list of these services is also available to provide staff in hardcopy.

We do recommend incorporating two briefing sessions – one before staff do the training, and another afterwards. These can be done in groups, and provide a great opportunity to check in with staff, seek feedback, and link the QPR training with existing organisational supports (e.g. Employee Assistance Programs).

Myself or one of my staff members has recently been personally affected by suicide. When is it safe to do the training?

Community suicide prevention training aims to teach individuals the warnings signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond. These training options are not recommended for individuals recently bereaved by suicide, as it is not a therapy or support group, rather an education session to learn how to support others.

For some resources that may be helpful in the aftermath of a recent suicide, please.

If you or someone you know is in need of more urgent care, please contact:

Lifeline on 13 11 14

Suicide Call back Service 1300 659 467 

Or refer to your internal EAP service.

What are the IT requirements for the training?

To complete QPR online, staff will need access to a computer or mobile device with an internet connection.                                    

Check your firewall: Some organisations may have IT systems in place which block access to the QPR training website. Please check all staff members can access the training at work by sending the QPR online training website link to your IT team. For more information contact: info@suicidepreventioncentralcoast.org.au

Is YAM evidence-based? What is the evidence for YAM?


The Black Dog Institute reviewed Australian and international school programs with the best evidence of reducing suicidal behaviour. Analysis of YAM shows significant improvements in youth mental health by effectively reducing depression, conduct problems, hyperactivity, suicide attempts, severe suicidal ideation and suicide plans. It has also been shown to facilitate healthy lifestyle choices by young people.

For more information, see 

Can a representative from the school be present during the YAM sessions?

YAM developers stipulate that trainers and helpers must be external to the school in which the program is being delivered. A key objective of YAM is to provide participants with a safe space where they can openly discuss any issue they want. The YAM developers believe that school staff participation is an obstacle to open and sincere communication and should be avoided without exception. The evidence supports this belief, with sessions run with school staff in the room being less effective.

What about students who are at risk of suicide, should they be doing the YAM program and will there be a screening process?

YAM does not screen students as it is a universal preventative program. However for the purpose of the LifeSpan research study, screening will be conducted in five schools. School staff and parents will be made aware if screening will be conducted in their school.

Students identified as at risk, through screening or by school staff, need to be referred for follow up and treatment but can continue to participate in the program.

YAM is not a treatment program. However, no negative effects have been observed for at-risk students who have continued to participate in YAM.

How will students at risk be supported?

Research has shown that YAM does not pose any increased risk for participating students, nor does it result in an increase in demand for mental health services. Mandatory reporting procedures, should this be required, will be followed by YAM instructors as departmental staff who will advise the principal of any student identified at risk of harm.

Does YAM fit in with the current Wellbeing Framework for Schools?

YAM supports the cognitive, emotional, social and physical wellbeing of students and can contribute to the school’s planned approach to wellbeing.

What information and resources are available to assist the implementation of YAM?

A range of resources have been developed to help roll out YAM in schools:

– Sample permission notes which can be customised locally by each school

– Information flyers for parents and community

– Sample risk assessment: a YAM risk assessment will be available to be adapted to the school context. The YAM Coordinator will be available to assist the school.

I am a parent of an adolescent, what can I do?

Become a YAM Helper – email info@suicidepreventioncentralcoast.org.au

ReachOut Australia and headspace have a number of free resources available for parents , including:

  • Information sheets / tips for parents
  • Professional Coaching
  • Discussion forums

Visit their websites via the links below to find out more:



Parents & Carers – Click Here


Learn how to recognise risk and refer young people to help through community suicide prevention training contact: info@suicidepreventioncentralcoast.org.au  for local training options.