Member for Clarence Chris GulaptisPhoto Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Member for Clarence Chris GulaptisPhoto Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

Feds need ‘skin in game’ of suicide prevention: MP

THE FEDERAL Government needs to get some "skin in the game" of suicide prevention the Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, has told state parliament.

Last night Mr Gulaptis addressed the parliament to commend the work of local people and organisations such as Skye Sear and Janita Cooper and the New School of Arts in bringing attention to the issue.

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He recalled he addressed the parliament on the issue in October last year during Mental Health Week, when Ms Sear convened a meeting after a spate of youth suicides.

"It seems like groundhog day because of late there have been further suicides in the Clarence Valley, some involving young people," Mr Gulaptis said.

"Another public meeting was called last Monday to look for solutions."

Despite the good intentions of the community and government, Mr Gulaptis said the problem was too big for them to address.

"Yes, we need mental health workers in the Clarence Valley and yes, we need a headspace centre in the Clarence Valley, but that alone will not solve the problem of suicide," he said.

"Communities that have a headspace centre and extensive mental health services continue to experience suicides.

"This is a bigger problem than saying that the government can fix it. Mental health problems cannot be fixed overnight."

Mr Gulaptis quoted the Lifeline CEO Pete Shmigel when he compared the experience in Scotland, where the government implemented a 10-year national strategy and action plan that achieved an 18% reduction in suicides, to a similar period in Australia.

"Over the same period, Australia saw a 20% increase," he said.

"The Federal Government needs to have skin in this game.

"We need a whole-of-government approach and a whole-of-community approach."

For the full text the Mr Gulaptis's speech go here

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