The Way Back Support Service Program
Connie has a personal and vested interest in the running and roll out of The Way Back Support Service Program for Veterans. She sits on the Beyond Blue Governance Committee for the Brisbane site which has been piloted and is an active voice for veterans and families needs in this space and within Government.
The Way Back Support Service draws on evidence of ‘what works’ to prevent suicide, targeting one of the most at-risk population groups – those who have attempted suicide - and improving continuity of care in the days, weeks or months after a suicide attempt.
The service is delivered to people who have been admitted to a hospital following a suicide attempt. Partnering hospitals assess and refer people to the Service. Support workers 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, such as assisting with transport, and tracks appointments with health and other social support services.
The support workers 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 – it can vary from a one-off contact providing essential information, to multiple communications over several months. This support helps people to manage the most critical, at-risk time for suicide: three months following their suicide attempt. The Way Back works closely with partnering hospitals and health systems, including primary care, ensuring regular communication. If suicidal behaviour escalates, its Support workers facilitate access to Crisis Assessment Teams, emergency departments and/or admission to mental health inpatient units.
By using a stepped-care model, the service reduces the reliance on hospital and emergency-based care, freeing up resources and ensuring that problems are managed before they reach crisis point. The Way Back also provides beyondblue suicide prevention information and resources to the families, friends and other supporters of people participating in the program. These resources will help them to better understand the experiences of their loved one and provide ongoing care and support in their recovery.