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Table 5 Exemplary quotes from the focus groups and interviews undertaken with stakeholders involved with LifeSpan

From: Networks to strengthen community social capital for suicide prevention in regional Australia: the LifeSpan suicide prevention initiative

  Theme/issue Exemplar quote Source
i Value of the Collaborative approach Facilitator: What do you think have been the key lessons that have come out of this part of the [LifeSpan] project?
[LHD member]: I'd say having [a Collaborative] is central to achieving new goals… I think I'd have to own that when [LifeSpan Coordinators] said that they were going to approach the Chamber of Commerce and do some work with them, I thought here we go. This is a bit out there! But actually, it has been really valuable. That's put a lot of people into the QPR [Question, Persuade, Refer] process
Site Beta FG #1[LHD]
Facilitator: What are the key lessons from [Site Alpha] that you would tell new sites about?
[Priority Population health professional] I think definitely use the round table type [approach] … come together. I think that is really positive
Site Alpha FG#3 [Priority Population health professional 1]
I think the value [of the Collaborative group] was acknowledged; that there was a big hole in this area. And this was only the beginning of the process. Trying to get people together and talking and seeing what we could offer Site Beta FG #1 [Police]
ii Inviting people to join the LifeSpan Collaborative was labour intensive at some sites I did feel like I was spending a lot of time having coffees and talking to people and not a lot of time ‘working’ Site Delta FG#1 [LifeSpan Coordinator A]
iii LifeSpan is the “anchor” or “glue” of the community effort [LifeSpan coordinator] would attend all of those groups. I think they were sort of the one anchor that, they kept, even though we were autonomous and we were allowed to develop some stuff by ourselves, they kept us focused, even though we were also looking at what was happening more locally, on the ground for ourselves, you know Site Alpha FG#3 [Priority Population health professional 1]
But you can see how this [Collaborative group] kind of held a lot—no matter what happened, we were here together, working on it, trying to make the best of the situation, whether it was good, bad or whatever. So, you know, we are grateful to LifeSpan for helping be that glue Site Gamma FG#1 [LHD]
iv Value of a community approach to activities Going back a number of years, there was a lot of activity [after a death by suicide], but it really lacked that coordination. I don't think anyone was taking responsibility for identification of when there's been a death, who needs to be involved in that response, is there someone already involved? Site Delta [PHN]
v Value of support within the Collaborative Certainly, from our perspective, we just see too much of it [death by suicide] every day. We had one yesterday, with one of our ex colleagues. Yeah, there really has been a lack in support for families as well as the individuals. So, to get all the players together to a one stop shop is a great idea. And it's the starting point. It's not the end point. You can only keep going from there Site Beta FG #1 [Police]
vi Achieving and maintaining buy-in I sit on the executive [of the Collaborative group] and we want everybody in the [group] to have buy-in. However, you're right, at the executive level, we do talk about things and we say 'okay, well we've made the decision, but that's not final. Now we need to take it back to the group today.' And so yeah, it does take that little bit longer, but it has that impact of everyone has that buy-in. … By definition, it is a Collaborative. It is astonishing in my view to see how much work and the goodwill that gets done under that Site Alpha FG#3 [LifeLine]
vii Linking people to resources/help Setting up the website, all those kinds of things that we're linking people in the community it's probably been one of the most valuable and particularly in engaging businesses… That's the feedback I keep getting when I travel around is people in businesses saying that we didn't know; or we are still finding businesses that are saying where do we go to get help? And we can direct them to that help Site Beta FG#1 [LifeSpan Coordinator]
It is good to know that the players, like getting a group together who actually know the individual players in each area to speak over issues or put people in touch with individuals Site Beta FG #1 [Police]
viii Flat hierarchy I find that the networking aspects of [the Collaborative] is really important. And I love the way that usually that leadership, I love the way that anyone can be invited to champion this cause regardless of whether you're in a high level, executive position, or, you know, if you're just a regular person Site Alpha Focus Group #1 [Priority population Health professional 2]
ix Integrating care; aligning of objectives How does health and the PHN work together? I think that is an important component of it. I think that has been really helpful having [LHD member] and then now [PHN member] on board. But before that we were kind of playing catch up all the time between the two services about where we were going, and the idea of stepped care and all those things Site Beta FG [PHN]
x “Mapping” of key services What I've noticed is that people wanted to do something, and that it's disparate. When I first started, there were disparate groups all over the place, not coming together. And saying:“Well, we do that bit”, “Oh, I never knew you did that. Oh, I thought you did this”, “No, no, we don't do that.” And then you are finding out, it's basically a bit of a mapping of who are the key movers and shakers in our region? Who’s actually doing prevention, early Intervention, critical intervention and postvention. And we’re getting that clearer now with the [Collaborative] members Site Beta Interview [LifeSpan Coordinator]
xi Success dependent on geography to some extent The way that we set up our [Collaborative] was based off a metro model and has never really gotten the same traction as the metro [Collaboratives] …, but in saying that, we’ve had some individuals or working groups that have helped implement those strategies anyway, but the one big meeting to share knowledge and, you know, implement things just never worked Site Delta FG#1 [LifeSpan Coordinator A]
It's one of the advantages of not being a group of suburbs. That this is a town and people know each other in [Site Gamma]. Everybody's got a connection to somebody, somewhere and if you need or want anything, someone will know who to talk to Site Gamma FG#1 [LHD 2]
xii Building on existing Collaborative relationships I think we had really good local leadership and commitment [at the start of the LifeSpan project], as evidenced by all the people who came to the table regularly. And that was really built on a bedrock of good work that’s been done in this area for a long time. So, it wasn't like we were manufacturing it out of nothing Site Gamma FG#1 [LHD 1]
There's a sense of community spirit [in Site Gamma]. I can see it. I've been here 12 years. I can see it amongst families and communities… you can see that basic social connection. Local intel, isn't it? Site Gamma FG#1 [LHD 2
xiii LifeSpan Coordinators’ role in building social capital One of my standout things around [the LifeSpan Coordinators] aside from the support that they give us, it's their genuine, and I really mean that, belief in what people with a lived experience can offer… sitting around a table with people who might have degrees as long as their arms and are called doctors and the CEOs. And to know that what you have to say, is just as important to them, as what they have to say is important to us, that is a big, big plus Site Alpha_FG#2 [Person with lived experience]
I actually started … having a bit of a vent, and I actually did get quite emotional, as I do. And you know, they rang me and [LifeSpan Coordinator] was like 'are you okay?' and so that checking in stuff as well. So, you know, we're not just collaborative members, we are people and we are, you know, we feel pain and sadness and tiredness all that sort of stuff, and I think, yeah, [the LifeSpan Coordinators] have really, it's still personal, and they still treat us like people and that's lovely sometimes when you see, you know, collaborative members around town or you know at council or wherever you are different places and everyone was like, 'Oh how are you going?' you know, so yeah, again I think it's more than collaborative, it's friendships, it's relationships and I think that's the thing isn't it, it's that relationship Site Alpha FG#3 [Priority population health professional 1]
xiv LifeSpan Coordinators seen as knowledge brokers I think the things that the coordinator role provided was—it was a bit of an umbrella view of the local suicide prevention work that was occurring … Because everyone knows the bit that is happening in relation to them and their organization, but don't know all the other stuff. And that’s really important … so you don’t duplicate and can share resources, you know. And that's the sort of role that doesn't exist… I think it was that umbrella view and being able to connect people, resources and information. And so I think you have to define that as acting as a bit of a knowledge broker as well. We would become the people that the people would ring with anything to do with suicide and suicide prevention, really, anything locally – including, clinical inquiries, which we were really not the people to deal with that, including being told about when postvention responses were being coordinated. You know we were the go to, but the role we could play in that was to connect the right people, or finding out who the right people were, because we had a really big network of contacts Site Gamma Interview [LifeSpan Coordinator]
  1. LHD Local Health District, PHN Primary Health Network, FG Focus Group