Abstract for:Informing local suicide prevention through co-design of a system dynamics model in Greater Western Sydney (Australia)

Suicide is a significant public health issue in Australia, and remains one of the leading causes of death in young people. Dynamic simulation modelling is increasingly being applied in the health and social sector to guide policy investments and priorities. This paper describes the development of a system dynamics model to identify the combination of policy priorities likely to deliver the greatest reductions in suicidal behaviour in the Greater Western Sydney population catchment (Australia) over the period 2018-2028. The model was based on defined pathways to mental health care and suicidal behaviour, and was calibrated to represent the current incidence of suicide and attempted suicide in Western Sydney, and current suicide prevention priorities as articulated by local stakeholders. This paper demonstrates the utility of dynamic simulation models, co-designed with multi-disciplinary stakeholder groups, to capture and analyse complex mental health and suicide prevention regional planning problems. The model can be used by local planners as a decision support tool to guide the commissioning of future service activity, and to monitor and evaluate interventions as they are implemented in Western Sydney.