Components of behavioural and socio-environmental approach of Labonte’s health promotion theory in LIFE (Living Is For Everyone)

The prevalence of suicide incidents of the young generation in Australia is one of the primary reasons of establishing the ‘Living Is For Everyone Framework’ (the LIFE Framework 2007). As the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, the framework provides planned actions in preventing suicide, addressing the burdens due to suicide which affecting individuals and the community and promoting mental health state and wellness of the population (LIFE Framework 2007 2008, p. 7).  The activities included in the framework are grouped into eight domains of interventions (LIFE Framework 2007 2008, pp. 19-21). From these activities, several of them are encompassing the behavioural and socio-environmental approaches of Labonte’s health promotion model (Labonte 1992, p. 121). However, only one of each that will be highlighted.

The behavioural approach is evident in the ‘indicated intervention’. It is aimed for people that are identified to have high risk factors of suicide and primarily focusing on increasing individuals’ ability to be aware of early signs and symptoms of risk factors and preparing them in tackling the problems (LIFE Framework 2007 2008, p. 21). Within this intervention, the individuals who are involved in the program development are individuals, families, organizations (consumer-carer, multicultural and educational), health professionals, police and other community services. However, differences on the characteristics of targeted subjects and its principal strategies significantly projecting the differences on measuring success rate when it is compared with the behavioural approach. As an example, health education as one of the principle strategies of Labonte’s behavioural approach is implemented with different approach within the LIFE Framework 2007 due to the fact that people have different traits and resilience which may affected on how they respond to life events and utilizing the obtained information about suicide (LIFE Framework 2007 2008, p. 23). Furthermore, the lacking of evidence confirming suicide prevention programs that improve knowledge can reduce suicide amongst adolescent is a factor that needs to be further considered (Cusimano and Sameem 2011, pp. 48-49).

The socio-environmental approach which can be seen from the ‘universal intervention’ is focused to decrease the ‘access to means of suicide’, forming resilient and supportive families, educational settings and society through adequate information and provides appropriate exposure of suicide from the media (LIFE Framework 2007 2008, p. 21). The framework emphasized on creating supportive environment that enables the target groups (whole population) in accessing activities that may reduce suicide. However, inadequacy of the intervention when it is compared to the Labonte’s socio-environmental approach can be seen through the absence of community empowerment, specifically in determining their needs and priorities upon the identified problems (Labonte 1992, p. 121).

Differences on principal strategies, problem definition, and program development of the framework and Labonte’s model may be due to the fact that the main concept of the framework is based on Gordon’s prevention model (1983, pp. 108-109) which divides preventions into three levels; universal, selected, indicated, which was then adapted by Mrazek and Haggerty (1994) and was developed and covered the ‘prevention, treatment, maintenance, recovery’ aspects of intervention (LIFE Framework 2007 2008, p. 18). Nevertheless, the activities within the LIFE Framework 2007 are demonstrating Labonte’s behavioural and socio-environmental approach of health promotion.


Cusimano, M and Sameem, M 2011, ‘The effectiveness of middle and high school based suicide prevention programmes for adolescences: A systematic review’, Injury Prevention, vol. 17, pp. 43-49.

Gordon, RS 1983, ‘An operational classification of disease prevention’, Public Health Reports, vol.98, pp. 107-109.

Labonte, R 1992, ‘Heart health inequalities in Canada: Models, theory and planning’, Health Promotion International, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 119-128.

Living Is For Everyone (LIFE) Framework (2007), A framework for prevention of suicide in Australia, [Accessed 21 March 2011].

Mrazek, PJ, Haggerty, RJ, 1994, Reducing the risks for mental health disorders: Frontiers for preventive intervention research, National Academy Press Institute of Medicine: Washington.


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