Shining a light on suicide prevention

Members of the New South Wales Police Service, school staff and students - along with community service workers – attended a unique Wellways suicide prevention workshop in Lake Cargelligo, in remote New South Wales.

The two-day ASIST training was presented by Wellways staff Zoe Evans and Fran Godde, of the Murrumbidgee Suicide Prevention Program. The program has several aspects to it, all designed to raise awareness about suicide prevention and support in the community. 

“Sadly, Lake Cargelligo has been touched by suicide over the past few years, so this training was a great opportunity to learn more about how to recognise and support someone who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide, as well as providing follow up support and connections,” said Ms Evans. “Anyone over 16 can become an ASIST-trained caregiver. As a community we can all play a part,” she said. 

ASIST is a scientifically-proven intervention providing practical skills and feedback from the training was overwhelmingly positive: “This was excellent training, well worth the two days. It was amazing and I learnt so much,” one participant said.

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Every day should be OK

Last month the “R U OK? Conversation Convoy” was in northwest Tasmania to educate the community on asking the important question: “R U OK?” This is a national suicide prevention charity dedicated to encouraging people to interact with those around them and to support anyone struggling with life. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the theme for this year is “Every day is R U OK? Day” – highlighting that it is no longer a question for one day a year, but a meaningful conversation starter for every day. 

Wellways program worker Dearne Radford attended in Devonport event with a participant. “It was a great opportunity for networking and supporting my participant in making connections with her local services. All in all, it was event filled with friendly faces, engaging conversations and freebies; despite the wet weather and puddles,” Dearne said. 

Great day for blokes

Wellways was happy to join Hilltop Council’s “A Day for the Blokes” in Boorowa, NSW. It was a great event, sharing stories about mental health in casual setting with health checks thrown in. Pictured in the banner are former ABC sports presenter Peter Wilkins, Maurie Hall of Wellways and John Clarke of ABC radio’s The Big Fish.

Healthy body image for girls

In Burnie, Tasmania, the Child Youth and Family Engagement team has been working to deliver the message of positive body image with a group of 11 girls aged between 15 -16, from St Brendan Shaw College. Based on the Embrace Movement by Taryn Brumfitt, the girls, guided by Program Worker Dearne Radford, Intentional Peer Worker Katie Fielding and Team Leader Shona Becker have been exploring the alarming rates of body image issues that are seen in people of all body types. Provided with beauty packs and a range of lifestyle handouts, the girls have learnt to explore and challenge these issues by participating in a range of activities and discussions which have included creating positivity jars, building self-esteem; learning to braid your hair and energetic Zumba classes. The program will soon roll out to other schools. 

The CYFE program aims to provide early intervention and prevention support services to assist vulnerable families with children and young people who are at risk of, or affected by, mental illness. The aim is to reduce family stress and enable participants to reach their potential with long term outcomes via intensive early interventions, specifically for children and young people with assistance to the participant’s parents or guardianship. 

Short break without a care

Wellways to Health Family Services hosted a two-night Carer Retreat at the idyllic Tamar Valley Resort Grindelwald, Northern Tasmania.  Eleven carers of people with Mental health challenges or autism attended and completed the Wellways to Health program as well as taking a break from their caring role. 

The afternoons allowed carers the opportunity to participate in activities such as a walk, day spa session, mini golf, swimming, chatting at the coffee shop, shopping or relaxing with newly made acquaintances or savouring some quiet time in their own rooms. “I enjoyed witnessing the connections people made throughout the duration of the retreat and people appeared to be relaxed, included and connected with each other,” said Kath Jury.

Joining the celebration

The Eid Festival, held after Ramadan, is a time when the local Muslim Community celebrates with the non-Muslim community.  The festival is an opportunity to celebrate, share cultures and bring connections within the community. Wellways Gippsland team took the opportunity to participate in the Eid Festival through holding a stall to provide information on Wellways services in the region. This year the festival was held on 1 July at the Old Gippstown Heritage Park in Moe.