FNQ Suicide Prevention Taskforce

The FNQ Suicide Prevention Taskforce’s goals are to implement, support and promote strategies, which aim to reduce occurrences of suicide and self harm.

The Foundation manages this Taskforce, which is a community-based voluntary group, representing a wide cross-section of the community. It comprises approximately 80 members from health and welfare agencies such as counselling and youth agencies, general practitioners, education and mental health providers, government agencies, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services, local government and universities. For more information on the Taskforce visit www.suicidepreventionfnq.org.au

The Dr Edward Koch Foundation FNQ Suicide Prevention Taskforce established two Taskgroups (Lived Experience Reference Group LERG and the Stigma Reduction Committee SRC) which made immensely valuable contributions to the draft Cairns and Hinterland Suicide Prevention Community Action Plan. The Taskforce further sought to expand its activities beyond consultancy and stigma reduction to include public education and peer support. This was achieved through the current LERG and the SRC and the establishment of a Public Education Committee PEC and a Peer Support Team PST. These four task groups now serve the purpose of harnessing the contributions of individuals with lived experience in our efforts at providing an holistic response to the region’s suicide rate. For more information, click here.

For information about our upcoming FNQ Suicide Prevention Week, click here.

The Taskforce has several groups and committees which aid in delivering of Taskforce initiatives. For more details, click on this link.


The FNQ Suicide PreventionTaskforce has always anticipated and responded to community needs. Their project #365ReasonsWhyNot demonstrates strongly their ability to adapt sustainability into the future through using new media forms.

This innovative approach for positive change was demonstrated in the FNQ Suicide Prevention Taskforce response to the 2017 Netflix series ‘13 Reasons Why’. The series was a possible trigger for young people at risk with some relapsing with re-emerging suicidal ideation following viewing. A social media campaign presenting reasons to live, rather than reasons to suicide was developed. The campaign 365 Reasons Why Not was launched via the Taskforce’s Facebook page. Community youth were asked to provide quotes/reasons to live in order to continue a dialogue covering a year with a post every day.  Response from youth was overwhelming with all wishing to see their meme published.  

This project – 

  • Was created and coordinated with input from all members
  • Tackling head on the content of why people commit suicide in the series          was paramount
  • Addressed the public conversation around suicide
  • Stemmed the reported spike in suicidal thinking
  • Had an extremely large following
  • Serves to outmanoeuvre  ‘13 Reasons Why’

The Taskforce’s collective response can be found at https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/365reasonswhynot?source=feed_text

The Taskforce also works collaboratively with communities to ensure that Taskforce information/resources are helpful and relevant to individual communities. Below – some of their activities.  

  • Maintains suicidepreventionfnq.org.au website – a resource for those needing help
  • Participation in RUOK Day walk each year
  • Radio interviews – those with lived experience
  • Lived Experience Reference Group set up and operating
  • Commenced updating Preventing Suicide: An Awareness and Support Handbook (6th edition)
  • #365ReasonsWhyNot campaign

Recognition of the work by the volunteer FNQ Suicide Prevention Taskforce was given in the receiving of the Life Awards – Excellence in Suicide Prevention Communities Matter. Their collective dedication spanning 22 years qualified them as a trusted community source of information and assistance, especially changing things by solid, practical achievement as demonstrated by #365ReasonsWhyNot.  This project also received a local award from the Cairns Hinterland Consumers and Carers Advisory Group for innovation during Mental Health Week 2017.