The Way Back Support Service

The Way Back Support Service is an innovative suicide prevention service, developed to support people for the three months after they’ve attempted suicide, which is when they are most at risk of dying by suicide.

What is The Way Back Support Service?

  • The Way Back Support Service (The Way Back) is a new suicide prevention program targeting people discharged from hospital after trying to take their own lives.
  • The Way Back delivers one-on-one, non-clinical care and practical support that people can relate to following a suicide attempt so they do not disengage with services they may require.
  • Support Coordinators deliver the service to help people stay safe and connected with their support networks and existing health and community services during a period of high risk and vulnerability.
  • Since 2014, collectively the sites have received approximately 1,500 referrals.

How does it work?

The Way Back is delivered to people who have been admitted to a hospital following a suicide attempt or people experiencing a suicide crisis.

Partnering hospitals assess and refer people to The Way Back Support Coordinators who then contact the person within 24 hours and work with them to develop a safety plan. The plan includes setting goals tailored to the individual which encourages them to re-engage safely in everyday life. It also reduces barriers to accessing follow-up care and tracks appointments with health and other social support services.

Support Coordinators keep in touch with people regularly, either face to face, by phone and/or email. The level of support provided is based on the needs of the individual and can vary from a one-off contact providing essential information, to multiple contacts for up to three months.

The Way Back is underpinned by robust clinical governance structures to ensure safe management and risk escalation of its clients.

"It is a very valuable service. Definitely the personal connection is what makes a difference."

“I’m back working now.  It was a pretty hard hit to lose your business and have nowhere to go to.  They really helped me pull myself up and get back on track.  I travel now for work which I never thought I’d be able to do again.”

Current sites

Northern Territory

Darwin

The NT has the highest suicide rate of any Australian state or territory by a significant margin.

An initial trial of The Way Back, funded by the Movember Foundation, was launched in Darwin in June 2014 and was delivered locally, with oversight from beyondblue. An independent evaluation was conducted by Ernst & Young.

A second iteration of the service ran in 2016/2017, with a third phase expected to commence in 2018 with funding from NT Health.

New South Wales

Newcastle (Hunter Primary Care)

The second and most significant trial of The Way Back Support Service commenced in the Hunter region of NSW from May 2016, funded by the Movember Foundation and beyondblue.

NSW consistently has the greatest number of suicide deaths per annum. There are nearly 2,400 suicide attempts in the Hunter region each year and The Way Back provides a critical service to reduce the risk of these people dying by suicide. The Way Back is delivered by a Newcastle-based consortium, which includes: 

  • Hunter Primary Care (lead agency)
  • Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital
  • Hunter New England Local Health District Mental Health Services
  • Everymind
  • Relationships Australia 
 

Guiding Their Way Back Support Groups (EveryMind)

The Guiding Their Way Back Support Groups were developed by Everymind with funding from beyondblue, The nib Foundation and The Greater Charitable Foundation. This program has been developed for the community, including partners, parents, siblings or other family members, friends and colleagues of people who have recently attempted suicide.

Relationships Australia has partnered with Everymind and beyondblue to deliver the pilot information session and group program in October 2016.

Murrumbidgee (Wellways)

The Murrumbidgee PHN have funded Wellways to deliver The Way Back throughout the Murrumbidgee region. Launching in January 2018, this service will operate in Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Young and Deniliquin. Referrals are received through the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

North Coast

The North Coast NSW PHN will be procuring a service provider for The Way Back, in partnership with beyondblue in early 2018.

Australian Capitol Territory

Canberra (Woden Community Service)

ACT Health and beyondblue are funding the implementation of a site in Canberra for two years from 2016. beyondblue has appointed Woden Community Service as the local service provider, with client intake starting in October 2016 with referrals from both Canberra and Calvary Public Hospital Bruce.

The Canberra site is also trialling an after-hours service to clients of The Way Back, for potential expansion to other sites if successful.

Queensland

Redcliffe (Mental Illness Fellowship of Queensland)

The Redcliffe site is funded by the Brisbane North PHN and provided by the Mental Illness Fellowship of Queensland. This service launched in October 2017 and is receiving referrals from the Redcliffe Hospital.

Victoria

Geelong (Barwon, Child, Youth and Families)

Funded by Barwon Health as part of the Victorian Government’s HOPE Initiatives, this service launched in December 2017 and is delivered by Barwon, Child, Youth and Families. Referrals are received from Barwon Hospital.

South East Melbourne

Funded by the South East Melbourne Primary Health Network, this service is due to commence by June 2018.

Further information

For organisations interested in further information relating to The Way Back Support Service and/or submitting tenders to provide this service, please contact us.

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Funded by the Movember Foundation

 

The Way Back Support Service was funded with donations from the Movember Foundation


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