Parents are being called up to the front line of Australia’s mental health crisis as experts brace for the cumulative impact of the pandemic, climate disasters and rising cost-of-living pressures. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Data from the NSW Suicide Monitoring System showed that suspected deaths in the state this year have trended above the numbers recorded over the past three years.
From mid-November, the NSW Government will train 200,000 parents to be “first responders” to identify people at risk of suicide, develop a safety plan and refer them for help.
Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor said she believed the program would be the largest single suicide prevention training effort in the world.
Annual deaths data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, released earlier this month, showed suicide numbers remained relatively stable between 2020 and 2021.
However, suicide prevention advocates say the stable figures could be misleading, with coronial investigations following a suspected suicide taking 12 to 18 months. Evidence that the impact of long lockdowns in NSW and Victoria will likely only be seen over the coming months and years.
The LivingWorks Start online course will be promoted to parents through high school newsletters and social media pages.
The self-paced course takes about 90 minutes and covers strategies for recognising the actions or thoughts that may indicate suicidal ideation, how to refer a person towards help and develop a safety plan, as well as how to ask directly about suicide.
National FREE 24/7 Crisis Services: • Lifeline 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 www.kidshelpline.com.au • MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 www.mensline.org.au • Beyond Blue Support Service 1300 22 4636
Parents to be trained as ‘first responders’ to aid suicide prevention (By Mary Ward, Sydney Morning Herald)