Legislative Council: Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Suicide Prevention

In reply to the Hon. C. BONAROS ().9 March 2023).

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): The Minister for Health and Wellbeing has been advised:

1. The state offers specialist older persons mental health services both in the community and in our hospitals. In addition, urgent mental health assistance for people in distress is provided through the Mental Health Triage phone line and through the Urgent Mental Health Care Centre. An emergency response is also provided by the SA Ambulance Service.

Further to this, the Suicide Prevention Act 2021 requires the development of a State Suicide Prevention Plan to be developed by the Suicide Prevention Council. The plan, currently in development with the support of Wellbeing SA, will outline the strategies for preventing suicide for all South Australians, including priority population groups such as older people. In addition, prescribed government authorities will be required to develop action plans describing actions to be undertaken to prevent suicide for workers and community members.

2. The Office for Ageing Well is established under legislation to support South Australians to age well, and facilitates this via a range of services, programs and grant opportunities. The Adult Safeguarding Unit, located within the office, is a dedicated, statewide service with a legislative remit to respond to reports of abuse or mistreatment of adults who may be vulnerable. In some instances, this may include supporting an older person to transition into aged care to ensure their care needs are being met. The office also has responsibility for the administration of the Aged Care Assessment Program, through the local health networks. This assessment is required to enable older people to access a range of aged-care services, including residential aged care.

3. There are few if any waitlists, with occupancy rates at around 90 per cent.