FRONTLINE health and welfare workers are set to join forces with Ballarat community leaders for a think tank on suicide prevention from next week.
The forum comes under the National Suicide Prevention Trial, with state and federal funding, as a place-based approach to tackling the complex problem.
Western Victoria Primary Health Network senior mental health manager Michael Struth said it was important this be a grassroots, collective approach to identify gaps in the system. Mr Struth said the aim was to build on the work of organisations already working in this space, like health services and the region's suicide prevention networks.
"The level of commitment and people on board is really building momentum...We're not looking to duplicate what's already in place but how these efforts can best leverage of others in the region," Mr Struth said.
"...How we use that evidence available to us, like stats and local context, will help guide what is needed for further action."
A Ballarat trial leadership group, including people with lived experience, has already identified four key areas for further exploration by working parties for the next two to three months. These focuses are: education, training and development; communications and community engagement; peer support; and, men's health.
Ballarat has the highest suicide rate in Victoria and the fourth highest rate of the nation's biggest cities with 16.7 deaths per 100,000 people each year, according to national data.
This does not take into account the lag in coronial findings or unclear deaths.
The Victorian Government aims to halve the state's suicide rate by 2025 from 624 lives lost in 2016 with investment in suicide prevention such as the placed-based prevention trials.
Mr Struth said working together on actions and solutions for Ballarat should help the community be more alert and informed on suicide and mental health.
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.