Despite awareness campaigns, high profile advocates and increased government funding over the last few years, suicide is still misunderstood by many in the community.
The Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative has been working tirelessly over recent months to assist everyday people in recognising the warning signs of suicide, and the educating them on the role they can play in prevention.
The collaborative has rolled out a new online training course can give families, friends and colleagues the skills and confidence to address their loved ones’ suicidal thoughts and connect them with professional care.
QPR Training, or Question, Persuade, Refer, offers a set of simple steps that could save a life, and has been rolled out in Shoalhaven schools, businesses, homes and general practices.
During the months of October and November, more than 3800 people completed the course.
In October, an additional 1000 free QPR licenses became available for suicide prevention training, thanks to a $10,000 federal government funding boost. About 700 of these free licenses are still available, and the Shoalhaven community has been encouraged to complete the one-hour online training.
Suicide rates in the region remain higher than the state average, with around 40 to 60 suicide deaths each year over the past decade, according to figures released by the Collaborative.
Dr Hains said the internationally-renowned QPR training program had proven to be effective in saving lives, and encouraged people in the Shoalhaven to take part.
“There are some simple safe steps that friends, family and workmates can take to identify and support someone who is struggling,” he said.
“[QPR] will help you recognise warning signs for suicide.”
Dr Hains said it was crucial for the community to take action.
“QPR is a one-hour online training course that costs just $10 – less than most people’s lunch – that will help people recognise and confidently respond to warning signs of suicide,” he said.
Visit www.suicidepreventioncollaborative.org.au/QPR to register for the course.
If you’d like to talk to anyone about the issues raised in this article call Lifeline on 13 11 14; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 or MensLine 1300 789 978.