Supporting Communities in Responding to Suicide Being Used as a Threat

The Central Australia Life Promotion Network (LPN) has recently redeveloped The Little Red Threat Book, a resource that can assist Northern Territory community members and service providers to respond to the difficult issue of suicide being used as a threat.

The Little Red Threat Book has been revised and further developed with input from people who have lived experience of this issue, and was launched on Friday 21st February 2020 in Alice Springs.

The first edition (2007) of the Little Red Threat Book came from a workshop held in Alice Springs with a range of organisational representatives from town and remote communities. The workshop was facilitated as part of the Life Promotion Program of the Mental Health Association of Central Australia (MHACA). The book has been reprinted multiple times and has been a valuable resource for community members and service providers over the last decade.

In 2019, the Central Australian Life Promotion Network received funding from the Northern Territory Government to organise, host and facilitate a Suicide Prevention Forum in Central Australia that would inform a revised version of the Little Red Threat Book. This workshop was a collaborative effort of MHACA, MacDonnell Regional Council, Lifeline Central Australia, Australian Red Cross and the National Indigenous Australians Agency.

In August 2019, people from Aboriginal communities, people with lived experience of suicide and representatives from local service organisations came together at the Suicide Prevention Forum to share experiences and explore responses to suicide being used as a threat. The forum heard directly from people who have been impacted by this issue and their input informed the revised edition of The Little Red Threat Book.

The book tackles a problem that has felt difficult, confusing and dangerous for many people. In the workshops, participants expressed an understanding that people making suicidal threats are often affected by trauma and the frustrations of unmet needs. Responses explored in the book revolve around expressing care, supporting collective safety and finding ways to meet unmet needs without reinforcing unsafe behaviour.

Suicide as a threat is a complex issue and this book does not have all the answers, but the LPN has developed this resource in the hope that it will help people be more confident to provide the appropriate support in these difficult situations.

The LPN believes the value of this resource reaches beyond the Northern Territory and invites organisations and sector workers to utilise this resource

For more information about the work of the Central Australia Life Promotion Network or the Little Red Threat Book, contact Laurencia Grant, Suicide Prevention Project Officer, Mental Health Association of Central Australia on 08 8950 4600 or