New national suicide prevention roadshow kicks off in Gunning
On a quiet Friday in April, Lifeline Australia and Ruralco made their first stop on a national suicide prevention roadshow into rural and regional communities at Gunning in NSW.
More than 70 locals in the Gunning region (NSW) had registered to be trained in how to recognise and respond to signs of suicide.
Ruralco CEO and Managing Director Travis Dillon said in the opening event – at Gunning Ag & Water Solutions “We are proud to partner with Lifeline and help provide Australian farmers and their families with lifelong skills in suicide prevention.
“The interest in this roadshow shows just how real this issue is for the communities we serve.
“With men in regional and remote areas up to 2.6 times more likely to die by suicide than those in urban areas, our message to people struggling with life’s challenges is that you don’t have to go it alone – help is available.”
Lifeline Australia CEO Pete Shmigel described the frank and open discussions around mental health inspiring, with nearly double the numbers expected, attending the presentation.
This roadshow would visit a regional location in each state and territory to educate and empower communities to become more resilient and suicide safe.
“This is about bringing about whole-of-community solutions to the national suicide emergency,” Mr Shmigel said. “In teaching people how to have the difficult conversations – be they over a drive, over a drink or over the dinner table – we can help people thinking about suicide find a safe path forward.
“While Lifeline’s 24/7 crisis support services will always be available anytime, anywhere, we also know the lifesaving power of connected communities, with their shared hardships and close interpersonal relationships. As such, I thank Ruralco for their ongoing and genuine commitment to stopping suicide in rural and regional Australia.”
With the COAG Health Council recently announcing the development of a National Suicide Prevention Plan (see here), and Lifeline calling for suicide solutions to come from inside and outside the health sector, Mr Dillon said he looked forward to contributing to the discussion.
“Ruralco wants to support and empower communities across our far-reaching network, with businesses such as Gunning Ag & Water Solutions able to become leaders in their regions,” Mr Dillon said. “In doing so, we hope to set an example of what companies can do support the communities they are built upon.”
Further dates and locations for the national roadshow are to be confirmed.