Gold Coast to host international congress for suicide prevention and intervention

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, teachers and suicide survivors from around the world.

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


Announcing the decision to meet on the Gold Coast, 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.

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 Ms Battista.

“The distinctive winning mix of conference infrastructure, delegate experiences, service and our climate, continue to entice prominent business events to the region.

“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.”

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones welcomed the announcement.

“The Gold Coast has stamped its event hosting abilities on the world through the Commonwealth Games, and securing international events such as these demonstrates the confidence around the globe in this destination,” Ms Jones said.

“The beauty of the Gold Coast as a business event host is that delegates can extend their stay or enjoy iconic tourism experiences in between conference commitments.”

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