Work­shop aims to break down men­tal health stigma

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By Pa­trick Tansey stand­by­mur­ray@life­line.org.au

Fol­low­ing the highly suc­cess­ful in­au­gu­ral sui­cide preven­tion walk ‘Strength for To­day, Hope for To­mor­row’, Co­bram and dis­trict res­i­dents will have an op­por­tu­nity to at­tend a work­shop aimed at help­ing peo­ple sup­port those im­pacted by sui­cide.

StandBy — Sup­port Af­ter Sui­cide is of­fer­ing the free work­shop for peo­ple want­ing to learn about sui­cide be­reave­ment and how to sup­port some­one im­pacted by a sui­cide loss.

‘What Do I Say, What Do I Do?’ will be held on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 10 from 6 pm to 9 pm at Co­bram Sec­ondary School’s li­brary.

The work­shop, de­liv­ered in part­ner­ship with Life­line Cen­tral Vic­to­ria and Mallee, will pro­vide par­tic­i­pants with prac­ti­cal skills to sup­port any­one im­pacted by sui­cide.

Co­bram Dis­trict Health and Moira Shire Coun­cil are both sup­port­ing the event, which fol­lows the ter­rific re­cep­tion to the sui­cide preven­tion walk started by the Ven­tre fam­ily, who lost daugh­ter April to sui­cide in 2016.

StandBy Mur­ray co­or­di­na­tor Lucinda Fraser said the work­shop was de­signed to help build the ca­pac­ity in both in­di­vid­u­als and the com­mu­nity to re­spond to sui­cide and sup­port one an­other.

‘‘Los­ing some­one to sui­cide can be over­whelm­ing and of­ten iso­lat­ing,’’ Ms Fraser said.

‘‘We know that sup­port from fam­ily, friends and the wider com­mu­nity is so im­por­tant in help­ing those im­pacted to stay con­nected, but of­ten peo­ple don’t know what to say or do to help.

❝There is no one pro­gram or agency that can solve this. We need broad com­mu­nity en­gage­ment sup­ported by as many agen­cies and com­mu­nity groups as pos­si­ble. As part of de­vel­op­ing re­silience in our com­mu­nity, we need to lower stigma around men­tal health and sui­cide so that peo­ple feel able to seek help.❞

‘‘The What Do I Say, What Do I Do work­shop pro­vides a safe en­vi­ron­ment to learn about sui­cide be­reave­ment and equips peo­ple with sup­port skills that will build their con­fi­dence to sup­port some­one im­pacted by sui­cide.

‘‘We want peo­ple to leave the work­shop feel­ing more pre­pared to sup­port some­one and be com­fort­able hav­ing an open con­ver­sa­tion’’

Co­bram Dis­trict Health com­mu­nity en­gage­ment of­fi­cer Bruce Nay­lor said sui­cide preven­tion and aware­ness was part of a broader well­be­ing is­sue that af­fected more than just the youth of Co­bram.

‘‘There is no one pro­gram or agency that can solve this. We need broad com­mu­nity en­gage­ment sup­ported by as many agen­cies and com­mu­nity groups as pos­si­ble,’’ Mr Nay­lor said.

‘‘As part of de­vel­op­ing re­silience in our com­mu­nity, we need to lower stigma around men­tal health and sui­cide so that peo­ple feel able to seek help.

‘‘StandBy’s work­shop is a post-ven­tion ap­proach to sup­port­ing com­mu­ni­ties that have ex­pe­ri­enced sui­cide and we are part­ner­ing with them be­cause this is an im­por­tant part of de­vel­op­ing a com­mu­nity con­ver­sa­tion around men­tal health.’’

For ev­ery Aus­tralian who takes his own life, more than 100 peo­ple are im­pacted. That’s about 300 000 Aus­tralians im­pacted each year.

StandBy — Sup­port Af­ter Sui­cide is Aus­tralia’s largest provider of post-ven­tion sup­port, of­fer­ing free faceto-face or tele­phone sup­port to any­one im­pacted by sui­cide.

The StandBy work­shop is free and in­cludes a light din­ner. To reg­is­ter, RSVP to To find out more about StandBy — Sup­port Af­ter Sui­cide visit www.stand­by­sup­port.com.au or www.face­book.com/ stand­by­sup­port­after­sui­cide To con­tact the pub­lic hot­line for any as­sis­tance or en­quiries about StandBy, phone 0439 173 310.

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