Suicide prevention congress picks Gold Coast for return to Australia

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) has announced the Gold Coast has been selected to host its 31st World Congress in 2021.

The Congress will bring together around 800 mental health professionals, academics, crisis workers and teachers from around the world.

Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista said it was the first time the global congress would convene on the Gold Coast.

“Securing this event is a testament to the capabilities of the city to deliver world-class, large-scale business events in the heart of Australia’s playground. It also highlights the appeal of Gold Coast’s growing health and innovation sector,” said Battista.

“It’s encouraging to see more associations and multi-disciplinary medical and health conferences, choosing to align with the Gold Coast and its burgeoning reputation as Australia’s progressive hub for medicine, health and innovation.”

IASP is dedicated to preventing suicidal behaviour and alleviating its effect through a network of professionals and volunteers from over 80 countries.

Professor Jane Pirkis, a psychologist and epidemiologist based at the University of Melbourne in Australia and one of IASP’s vice presidents, said the Congress is an important forum to examine advances in suicide prevention, research and support.

“This Congress will discuss evidence-based research, best practice and suicide prevention measures, bringing together networks to share knowledge and skills,” said Professor Pirkis.

The Congress returns to Australia for the first time since 1997, with the organisation citing the appeal of the Gold Coast to international delegates as a major drawcard in the decision.

“The Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre is the perfect fit for our event, and the compact nature of the city means our delegates can experience so much of the Australian lifestyle, within walking distance of the venue,” said Professor Pirkis.

“As a host city, the Gold Coast bid offered an intimate and holistic approach to accommodating our Congress, which is highly valued by our organisation.”

The bid was a collaborative effort, with strong local support from Griffith University, Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP), as well as the backing of Tourism and Events Queensland, Destination Gold Coast and Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The Congress will be held from 21- 24 September 2021 at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The announcement follows the release of the latest Gold Coast meeting planners guide.