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Introduction - Suicide prevention and first aid

Mental health first aid is the help provided to a person who is developing a mental health problem, or in a mental health–related crisis, until appropriate professional treatment is received or the crisis resolved.1 Applying such early interventions to people with, or at risk of developing mental disorders is seen as an effective strategy for suicide prevention.2

The GPMHSC has developed this mental health first aid resource on suicide prevention to support general practitioners (GPs) in their day-to-day practice, to recognise and respond to patients whose mental health issues might be risk factors for suicide.

As mental disorders are one of the key risk factors of suicide,3 this resource includes information, links and other tools about mental health first aid as it relates to suicide prevention.

This tool kit is not exhaustive and does not replace training and education for GPs in mental healthcare and suicide prevention. Further, this document is not a practice guide. GPs should continue to undertake their own research and reading, and continuously undertake GPMHSC accredited mental health training to ensure that their mental health skills and knowledge are up to date.

The GPMHSC has also developed a second resource – After suicide: A resource for GPs, available on the GPMHSC website. This resource was developed to support GPs to respond to suicide in their communities, particularly those in rural and remote regions. 


  1. Mental Health First Aid Australia. What we do at Mental Health First Aid. Melbourne: MHFA, 2015.  [Accessed 4 March 2016].
  2. Ferrari AJ, Norman RE, Freedman G, et al. The burden attributable to mental and substance use disorders as risk factors for suicide: Findings from the global burden of disease study 2010. PLoS One 2014;9(4):e91936.
  3. Hawton K, van Heeringen K. Suicide. Lancet 2009;373(9672):1372–81.


Suicide prevention and first aid a resource for GPs