Building resilience

As communities that care about each other; we have a collective responsibility to increase our understanding of what leads people to choose to end their own life.

While we know what places some people at higher risk of suicide, there is often no single cause and therefore no single solution.

However, when we learn more about suicide – and its prevention – we can feel more confident to respond to people in need of extra help and support.

The national LiFE (Living is For Everyone) Framework says that suicide often results from an accumulation of risk factors. It intersects with problems and concerns across society such as:

  • Mental health
  • Drugs and Alcohol
  • Family Issues
  • Employment
  • Cultural Identity
  • Law enforcement and criminal justice
  • Education and
  • Socio-economic adversity

By working together, communities can undertake important primary prevention activities and initiatives; and address poor mental health through social connectedness and by building community capacity to identify risk, provide support and build resilience.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back after experiencing trauma or stress, to adapt to changing circumstances and respond positively to difficult situations (LiFE Fact Sheet 6).  In suicide prevention we talk about building individual resilience and community resilience.

Tips for building individual resilience

  • Look after your physical health. Ensuring you eat well, get regular exercise and enough sleep helps to maintain mental well-being and to think positively.  
  • Foster your personal relationships. Family and close friends can be an important support network in all sorts of situations.  
  • Make time to engage in hobbies you enjoy. Getting involved in enjoyable community activities, social or sporting groups or volunteering can broaden your social networks, and help you feel connected. 
  • Practice helpful ways of thinking. Challenge negative thoughts and look for alternative solutions to problems. Learn how to monitor and manage your stress in positive ways, for example through exercise and breathing exercises. 
  • Ask for help when you need it. If you are feeling overwhelmed you can call a support line, and talk to your local GP, a health professional or someone you trust.

Tips for building community resilience

  • Build community cohesion:
  • Build stronger families
  • Develop cultural competency
  • Build safe and healthy environments
  • Encourage healthy lifestyles

You can find links to a range of other information on our Resources page.