Last Friday Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack launched the new suicide prevention initiative LifeSpan in Young.
LifeSpan is an integrated, systems approach to suicide prevention, which aims to build a community safety net to help prevent suicide. LifeSpan is being implemented in local communities in the Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Bland, Cootamundra-Gundagai, Griffith, Hay, Junee, Leeton, Snowy Valleys, Wagga Wagga and Hilltops.
“The Federal Government understands the need for programs such as LifeSpan to build a stronger network to prevent suicide,” Mr McCormack said.
LifeSpan has been developed by the Black Dog Institute in partnership with clinicians, researchers, community groups and people with lived experience of suicide. It involves the implementation of nine evidence-based strategies simultaneously within a localised area.
The nine strategies are:
Improving emergency and follow-up care for suicidal crisis
Using evidence-based treatment for suicidality
Equipping primary care to identify and support people in distress
Improving the competency and confidence of frontline workers to deal with suicidal crisis
Promoting help-seeking, mental health and resilience in schools
Training the community to recognize and respond to suicidality
Engaging the community and providing opportunities to be part of the change
Encouraging safe and purposeful media reporting
Improving safety and reducing access to means of suicide
Estimates suggest that the simultaneous implementation of the LifeSpan strategies may reduce 20% of suicide deaths and 30% of suicide attempts.
Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN) CEO Melissa Neal said the organisation has a strong commitment to working alongside local communities to deliver LifeSpan with the aim of reducing suicide deaths and attempts.
“Suicide affects everyone across the community, it does not discriminate, and we know that, sadly, we have higher than state average suicide rates in the Murrumbidgee region.”
Some of the programs that are being rolled out include Question Persuade Refer (QPR) – training targeted at the general community, Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) – a program for Year 9 students, Advanced Training in Suicide Prevention (ATSP) – targeted at GPs, psychologists and other medical professionals and Mindframe Plus – targeted at the local media.
Wendy Dunk from Wilder’s Bakery was presented with a certificate by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack for being the first person to complete the QPR training in the Hilltops region.
QPR training will provide you with the knowledge and skills to identify warning signs that someone may be suicidal, the confidence to talk to them about suicidal thoughts and the ability to connect them with professional care. It is now free, takes an hour to complete and the license remains active for three years.
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