Towards Zero Suicides

About Towards Zero Suicides

Every suicide is a tragedy and touches so many. Families, friends and communities across NSW are devastated by the impact of suicide, with an estimated 17 lives lost each week. No one should have to go through the grief of losing a loved one to suicide. 

Suicide prevention is everybody’s business and there is still much to do. Suicide is a complex problem and we all, as individuals, communities, the private sector and government need to take focussed and coordinated steps to prevent it and provide greater support across the community. 

Towards Zero Suicides contributes to the Premier’s Priority to reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2023.  

The initiatives being rolled out across the state are responsive to the needs of the community. Together they provide a holistic approach to suicide prevention and mental health and wellbeing, ranging from system changes and training for mental health practitioners and community leaders, to strengthening community care and expanding aftercare services.

What are we doing?

ISLHD is currently implementing four initiatives as part of the Towards Zero Suicides program.

1) Enhanced Rural Counselling

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ResilienceTowards Zero Suicides Rural Counselling

So much has happened over the last few years leaving many people struggling. Drought, bushfires, floods, the COVID-19 pandemic, mice plagues – have all greatly impacted our rural communities. To better assist rural communities, extra counselling services are now available.

If you are distressed, feeling suicidal or recovering from a suicide attempt, you can now access mobile, face-to-face counselling to get psychological and emotional support.

The Enhancement to Rural Counselling initiative

  • Increases  the psychological and emotional support available to people, communities and workplaces

  • Provides dedicated support to people experiencing suicidal crisis or recovering from a suicide attempt.

Where to get help

You can access these services directly, or get a referral from your GP or nearest community health centre.

If you are in suicidal crisis, please contact the 24-hour Mental Health Line 1800 011 511 or call 000 for emergencies.


Illawarra Shoalhaven rural counsellor Terri Rowe


Base location: Nowra - 55-57 Berry Street, Nowra

Available: 8am - 4:30pm Monday to Friday

Phone: (02) 4424 7800 or 0448 294 708 during office hours



Base location: Health One, 130 Princes Highway, Ulladulla

Provides services from Nowra to Mount Agony Road, North Durras

Available: 8am-4:30pm Monday to Friday

Phone: (02) 4455 9999 or 0448 294 708 during office hours


If you need help

Content 1Mental Health Line 1800 011511

Lifeline – 131144

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

Suicide Callback Service 1300 659 647

Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36

2) Nowra - Suicide Prevention Outreach Teams

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SPOT team members

We have a service in Nowra called the Suicide Prevention Outreach Teams (SPOT).

SPOT aims to reduce deaths by suicide, suicide attempts and suicidal distress by supporting people in their home, or in their community,  at the time they are in crisis.

People who use the SPOT service may or may not have an existing mental health concern.

SPOT teams are a two-person response, one peer worker (that is a person who themselves have experienced suicidal crisis) and one clinician who will go out together to assist people in a suicidal crisis.

Many people in a suicidal crisis struggle to find timely appropriate care. They may not be comfortable going to an Emergency Department or leaving where they live which is where the SPOT team can assist as they can come out to you.

SPOT provides community-based care for people and helps guide people to the most suitable ongoing care, preferably in the areas where they live with their existing support systems.

A critical part of this initiative is the leadership by people with lived experience of suicide. SPOT is co-designed by people with lived experience of suicidal crisis and/or experience in caring for someone in crisis. Our Suicide Prevention Peer Workers, with lived experience of suicidal crisis, form a really important role in the teams and will lead the engagement with the person in crisis.

SPOT can be accessed by calling the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.

3) Wollongong Safe Haven

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Safe HavenSafehaven is a warm compassionate place where everyone is welcome and you won’t be judged. It isn’t like visiting a medical centre as it is in a house especially designed to not be like a medical centre.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing emotional distress, such as suicidal thoughts, and you’d like support, Safehaven is here for you.

You may be feeling alone and wanting social connections or you might just want a place to go where people get it.

Stride Mental Health manage the Wollongong Safe Haven with fabulous staff that are ready to listen. Our Stride Safehaven team are peer workers which means they have had their own personal experience of suicidal distress.

Often when people feel suicidal the only place to visit outside business hours is an emergency department. Safehaven is another option which provides a different kind of support. You can chat to us, have a tea or coffee, join in an activity or sit in a quiet spot and listen to music.

Safehaven can also support you to find out about other services that can assist you with immediate or longer term needs.

You choose what is right for you.

No need to make an appointment. You can just walk in.

Medicare is not required

Where: Walk-in service at 55 Urunga Parade, Wollongong

When: Wed-Sat 2:00pm - 10:00pmSafe Haven

Phone: 0401 561 164


A critical part of Safehaven is the collaboration with people who have a lived experience of suicide. Just like our Suicide Prevention Outreach Teams service, the Wollongong Safehaven was co-designed by people with lived experience of suicidal crisis and/or experience in caring for someone in crisis.



4) Zero Suicides in Care

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Safe SideSupports staff in the public health system to redesign procedures, reduce risks and build skills to prevent suicides among people with mental health conditions when they are in hospital or community care.

Towards Zero Suicides in Care focuses on;

  • cultural and systems changes so that we are continually learning and improving our systems, processes and individual approach to working with consumers with mental illness.
  • people who have a suicidal crisis and have been into our healthcare. It is about how the system receives, manages, treats and supports those who are suicidal and choose to seek help.
  • encouraging family to be active participants in consumers care with a focus on support for recovery and protection from self-harm.
  • the relentless pursuit of excellence to reduce suicides in care and improve the care for those who choose to seek help

Towards Zero Suicides in Care is a multi-faceted combination of practice, service delivery, consumer engagement and organisational change activities that together create greater effectiveness in healthcare settings to prevent suicides by those in the care of health services.