For this reason, we need a range of expertise and approaches to support people when and where they need it, from early intervention and prevention to intervention and post-vention.
These experts who provide this vital care in our community deserve to be recognised today and every day.
But what happens at the community and individual level is also incredibly important in suicide prevention.
From local Councils which act as information hubs and connect services to the workplaces that create safe and supportive work cultures, community groups who understand the needs and barriers people experience on the ground and sporting clubs that build environments of belonging and connection.
These actions are inspiring and truly generate hope when you see this work firsthand and the difference it makes in people’s lives.
This year is the 10-year anniversary of the Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Community Network (TSPCN), a network of health and community professionals, community members and individuals with lived experience who share resources, connect services and provide on-the-ground, real-time feedback to our Government about suicide prevention needs and priorities.
This is another incredible example of how our Tasmanian community is making a difference in suicide prevention. In these 10 years the TSCPN has empowered communities to support each other and be part of the solution through membership, action planning, resource sharing and recognising our suicide prevention workforce.
Similarly, SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY’s nine years of work in schools, sporting clubs, workplaces and community groups across Tasmania has supported communities and individuals to recognise the important role they play in suicide prevention. One of the things that we value is the opportunity work with in rural and remote areas. It’s a real privilege to engage with such close-knit communities to progress this important work.
For the individual, sometimes it can hard to know where to start. Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can make a contribution to suicide prevention.
A great start is to make a point of checking in on those around you. If you’re worried about someone, start a conversation.
If you notice a change in behaviour or simply think someone may not be going too well, reach out and ask them how they are. You don’t need to have all the answers.
Just by taking the time to ask how they are going is a great way of letting them know you care. You can also help them by discussing their existing support networks and connecting them with professional support if they feel it’s needed.
RU OK? Day is our annual reminder of how important it is to have a conversation. This year the theme was Ask RU OK? No qualifications needed, highlighting that you don’t need to be a professional to ask the question and provide potentially life-saving support.
One of the key things we always share is that we all have mental health. It operates on a spectrum – some days we feel like we are at the positive end of the spectrum and there will be days that are tough and we slide towards the more challenging end.
Take a few moments to reflect on the last few weeks. If you’re finding that you’ve had more “tougher” days than “easier” ones, it’s important to speak up and have a conversation with someone or contact a service that can provide you with support.
We all have the capacity to make a difference. By taking action, big or small, at a professional, community or individual level, we can all contribute to suicide prevention in Tasmania.
The World Suicide Prevention Day website (www.iasp.info/wspd/) has lots of information on how to get involved or learn more about the Day and how to support it.
Dr Michael Kelly, CEO Relationships Australia Tasmania and Mitch McPherson, Founder SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY
If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, seek help and support from A Tasmanian Lifeline 1800 98 44 34, Lifeline 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467, or the Lifeline crisis chat service at www.lifeline.org.au/crisis-chat. In an emergency, call Triple Zero 000.