Football coaches, team captains, hairdressers and bar staff are just a few of the many keystone roles in our local community being identified by mental health organisation Wellways Australia to become part of an informal network of community natural helpers that can help identify locals who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts or crisis.
Wellways is a community leader in suicide prevention and awareness raising activities in Murrumbidgee. In the past two years Wellways has worked alongside the Murrumbidgee PHN, Murrumbidgee LHD and the community to implement the Murrumbidgee Suicide Prevention
Program. Wellways has been funded by the NSW Ministry of Health to deliver the new Suicide Prevention Community Gatekeeper Training initiative throughout the Murrumbidgee region.
Wellways Murrumbidgee Regional Manager Zoe Evans said “gatekeepers can be the people that we interact and come into contact with on a daily basis. Often gatekeepers occupy informal roles, but they may also occupy formal paid roles.”
“Many people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts communicate distress through their words or actions, but these warning signs may be missed or misinterpreted. By building a network of appropriately trained gatekeepers in our community we can strengthen our local safety net.
“In the context of suicide prevention, gatekeepers are in a unique position to identify people who are experiencing suicide ideation or crisis, recognising warning signs and if properly equipped can appropriately and safely respond to and support someone experiencing a suicidal crisis.”
Funded by the NSW Ministry of Health, the new Suicide Prevention Community Gatekeeper Training initiative aims to empower locals in key community roles to provide initial support to people experiencing suicidal distress. It helps provide clearer understanding of referral pathways for people to access appropriate mental health support.
Suicide impacts family, friends and local communities. The impact of a suicide death is far reaching. Research indicates that at least 60 people are directly affected, however these numbers may be far greater in small, rural communities.
“Suicide Prevention Community Gatekeeper Training is an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills to better recognise and support vulnerable people in our community,” said Ms Evans. “Anyone can be a gatekeeper, and gatekeepers can save lives.”
Zoe Evans, Regional Manager Murrumbidgee, Wellways Australia
firstname.lastname@example.org | 0418 585 916
For more information
Scott Samson, Public Affairs, Wellways Australia
email@example.com | (03) 8486 4200 | 0429 022 248