Kempsey Community Suicide Prevention (KCSP) group announced its Action Plan, which aims to reduce the number of suicide attempts and deaths in the region, at the Macleay Valley Workplace Learning Centre on Tuesday.
The program, which has the potential to save the lives of many locals, combines evidence based strategies with input from locals and committee members.
KCSP project coordinator Melissa Robinson will oversee and implement the Action Plan over the next 18 months.
"The statistics show that in rural and regional areas, the suicides rates are much higher and we need to do everything we can to reduce those numbers," Ms Robinson said.
"We have created this Action Plan to work towards a solution. We have gathered information from a large variety of sources to implement the program.
"The Action Plan focuses on identification. We will teach people how to spot if someone is struggling and give them the skills on how to properly interfere and support that person."
The Action Plan, which has received support of $380,000 from government funding, has seven steps and each will be used in different ways to support community members.
- Action one - Community Engagement
- Action two - Community Capacity Building and Recovery and Healing
- Action three - Safe and Purposeful Media Reporting
- Action four - Building Help Seeking and Resilience in Young People
- Action five - Improving Emergency and Follow Up Care
- Action six - Workforce Development and Training
- Action seven - Lived Experience Network
The first of three ASIST workshops will run in Kempsey in the first week of the April school holidays and it will provide advanced training in suicide prevention to targeted work groups including local GP's, teachers and coaches.
Macleay Valley Workplace Learning Centre students, Mason Bannon, Terry Button and Cameron Donnelly, have all been impacted by suicide and agree the Action Plan is a step in the right direction and it could help break down the barriers preventing young people from opening up about their feelings.
"The ability to talk about your emotions and share your vulnerability with someone is incredibly difficult," Mr Donnelly said.
"But hopefully the actions in this plan can help to create a connection with one another so we can feel comfortable opening up and talking to each other, which takes away the sense of isolation."
KCSP committee members Mark Morrison, Hayley Hoskins, Tracy Baker and Annette Lawrence are excited to launch the Action Plan after months of hard work from many locals.
"When we first started this journey to remove suicide from the Kempsey community, there was more than 100 people who turned up to the first meeting," Mr Morrison said.
"This involvement from members of the community shows how important suicide prevention is for this community."
Ms Hoskins, who is the founder of Baylin's Gift, believes one of the first steps to suicide prevention is raising awareness.
"Community awareness is essential and that's what the Action Plan will do, it gets people involved and gives them an understanding of how to actively prevent a suicide," Ms Hoskins said.
"We need everyone to help to make a difference. People need to get behind this plan to help the community."
- Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go to www.lifeline.org.au.
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