Write an action plan

There are many ways to approach writing your plan. One of these is by using the SMARTER approach to help you identify items such as objectives, timeframes and responsibilities. You can download a sample action plan format to get you started. Download this fact sheet from Wesley LifeForce about brainstorming with your group to come up with strategies for your action plan. PDF icon Brainstorming_Fact_Sheet.pdf

S: Specific

State exactly what you want to accomplish.

Example: To enhance the community’s knowledge about depression, its treatment, available supports and services via a local health forum.

M: Measurable

How will you measure and evaluate whether the objective has been met?

Example: Pre- and post-questionnaire at the end of the forum which addresses the expected impacts of the forum

A: Achievable

Is the objective achievable given the available resources, the activities planned, the people involved and the specified timeframe?

R: Relevant

Is the objective relevant to your target group and its identified needs and priorities?

T: Timing

What is the time frame? By when do you expect to achieve your objective?

Example: Short= less than 6 months, Medium= 6 months to 1 year, Long term = more than 1 year

E: Engagement

Will the objective engage the community? Has the target community been engaged in setting the objective?

R: Responsibility

Who is responsible for implementing, monitoring and evaluating the objective?

Learn from others

Here are a few existing groups, with explanations of what their aims and activities are - to give you some ideas and get you started.

Wagga Wagga & Region Suicide Prevention Network (WWRSPN) is founded on the belief that people matter. The Network seeks to inform and empower community members by creating awareness about suicide prevention. The Network is made up of community members; representatives from community organisations; and local government agencies, and meets monthly to determine and action network projects.

The Wollongong Suicide Prevention Network is involved in a number of suicide prevention projects and related activities. In collaboration with Wollongong Police, the network prepares local support packages for families in crisis. They develop local directories of suicide related services and identify service gaps and needs. The network distributes community information cards which contain local suicide related support numbers, websites and organisations.

A Suicide Safety Network has been set up on the Central Coast of NSW. It is a community-based non-profit organisation which aims to formalise networks between organisations and individuals that want to be involved in helping reduce the incidence of suicide.

A Life Worth Living Committee has been established in Narrabri. The Committee was formed following an above average number of suicides in the Narrabri area in recent times and brings together numerous stakeholders within the community. The Committee has enhanced knowledge of mental health in the area and access to local and other services, such as the National StandBy Response Service which helped the community address suicide bereavement.

The Hilltops Suicide Prevention Network in NSW aims to:

  • inform their community
  • reduce the stigma surrounding suicide
  • improve access to support
  • maximise community resources by filling resource gaps
  • promote holistic wellbeing
  • gain experience and tools for other communities to use
  • provide a forum for existing organisations, and individuals, to develop joint projects in suicide prevention
  • help develop better language for the community to understand suicide.

The Bega Valley Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN) is a community-based committee that works to reduce the impact of suicide in the Bega Valley, NSW. They plan to hold workshops to increase the community’s early intervention skills and, by raising awareness of the issue, also hope to eliminate the stigma associated with suicide.

Work in progress checklist

  • Who has seen the plan?
  • Where has the document been sent?
  • How good were the information and processes used to put the plan together?
  • How is the plan used in organising activities?

Information you should keep

  • Feedback from interested people and organisations on the usefulness of the plan
  • Description of information and processes used to put the plan together
  • Records and minutes of the action group meetings –e.g. date, who attended, what was decided

Here’s what one community did:

Mt Gambier completed an action plan. The Mt Gambier Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2013-2016 includes four goals with actions, which members of the network are responsible for which action and the time frame for completing the actions.