Over the past 12 months, Connect Health & Community worked to help create the South East Suicide Prevention Network, to provide local support to suicide prevention activities in our community.
Launched in April, the network is co-chaired by two community members, Vivienne Blennerhasset and Kirstie Edwards; with representatives from Connect Health & Community and Headspace, and supported by Wesley Mission’s LifeForce.
The Network was founded after calls for local support from Vivienne, who lost her son to suicide in 2015, and found a lack of support and prevention services in our local communities. Vivienne and community health specialist, Kirstie, were connected and work began.
In September 2018 Connect Health & Community hosted the forum, “Suicide. Why talking about it won’t kill you,” and were overwhelmed by the community response and support for a network.
Now operational, the South East Suicide Prevention Network is made up of residents from across the Bayside, Glen Eira and nearby areas. With members spanning all age groups, more than half are under 25 years of age.
Connect Health & Community CEO, Amanda Murphy, said the network enables community members affected by suicide to have input to prevention mechanisms.
“The Suicide Prevention Network remembers those who have died by suicide, recognises the impacts on loved ones, and raises awareness and capacity to talk about suicide more openly in our local communities,” she said.
“This group is run by the community, for the community, seeking to increase awareness and help change behaviours while educating our broader community about the far-reaching issues associated with death by suicide,” she said.
Mental health advocate, Professor Patrick McGorry said he was moved by the locally-grown network and its work to help those left behind by suicide.
“It’s so inspiring to see whole communities mobilising to remember those who have been lost in an effort to stem the rising tide of preventable deaths in young people due to suicide. This is such an achievable aim if we work together and ensure that people get the help and expert care they need when in the danger zone and beyond.”
Suicide has reached epidemic proportions in Australia, with latest statistics reporting eight deaths by suicide each day. For every death by suicide, it is estimated that as many as 30 people (or 65,300 a year) attempt to end their lives.
“These numbers are more than sufficient reason to start talking openly about this preventable cause of death, and help those among us who are suffering in silence until the pain gets too much. This is the leading cause of preventable death for young people and it is vital that young people have a voice in our community,” Ms Murphy said.
The South East Suicide Prevention Network meets bi-monthly and is open to all members of the community. Interested males and young people are encouraged to join.
Contact the Network at email@example.com or make contact through Facebook.
"These numbers are more than sufficient reason to start talking openly about this preventable cause of death"
Two community murals were developed to brighten social spaces when we worked with Castlefield Community Centre, Bayside City Council, DHHS and Victoria Police to improve the quality of life for residents on the Hampton East Public Housing Estate.