Supporting Communities in Responding to Suicide Being Used as a Threat

A resource tackling the issue of people using suicide as a threat has been redeveloped to assist Northern Territory community members and service providers to respond to this difficult issue. ‘’The Little Red Threat Book’’, originally published in 2007, has been revised and further developed by the Central Australian Life Promotion Network (LPN) with input from people who have lived experience of this issue.

The book will be launched on Friday February 21st from 10:00am-11:00am in the Andy McNeill Room, Alice Springs Town Council.  All are welcome and people working in the community services sector are highly encouraged to join the LPN and special guests to launch this important community resource.  Light refreshments will be provided and all attendees will receive a free copy of The Little Red Threat Book.  The launch will be followed by the Central Australia Life Promotion Network Meeting at 11am; all those with an interest in suicide prevention are welcome to stay for the meeting.

“The Little Red Threat Book responds to community concerns about the increase in people threatening suicide and provides useful support suggestions for those involved, “said Peter Devine, Manager Community Safety, MacDonnell Regional Council and LPN Chair/Board Member.

The first edition of the Little Red Threat Book was produced in 2007 after a community workshop was held to explore this emerging issue. The Life Promotion Program, as part of the Mental Health Association of Central Australia (MHACA), coordinated the workshop. The book has been reprinted multiple times and has been a valuable resource for community members and service providers over the last decade.

In 2019, the Central Australian Life Promotion Network received funding from the Northern Territory Government, Department of Health & Minister Natasha Fyles, to organise, host and facilitate a Suicide Prevention Forum in Central Australia that would inform a revised version of the Little Red Threat Book. The LPN was established in 2017 as part of the Wesley Lifeforce networks, and is facilitated by MHACA, MacDonnell Regional Council, Lifeline Central Australia, Australian Red Cross and the National Indigenous Australians Agency.

In August 2019, people from Aboriginal communities, people with lived experience of suicide and representatives from local service organisations came together at the Suicide Prevention Forum to share experiences and explore responses to suicide being used as a threat. The forum heard directly from people who have been impacted by this issue, as well as from successful suicide prevention programs.

“The book tackles a problem that has felt difficult, confusing and dangerous for many people. In the workshops, participants expressed an understanding that people making suicidal threats are often affected by trauma and the frustrations of unmet needs. Responses explored in the book revolve around expressing care, supporting collective safety and finding ways to meet unmet needs without reinforcing unsafe behaviour,” said Peter Devine.

“Suicide as a threat is a complex issue and this book does not have all the answers, but the LPN has developed this resource in the hope that it will help people be more confident to provide the appropriate support in these difficult situations,” said Peter Devine.

The Little Red Treat Book can be downloaded here Little Red Threat Book

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14.