Giane Smajstr from New School of Arts Neighbourhood House, Sue Hughes, Our Healthy Clarence, Zak Masters and Jeremy Jablonski from Clarence Youth Action were just some who met with member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis to discuss framework for new suicide prevention strategy at the Popup Hub in Grafton.
Giane Smajstr from New School of Arts Neighbourhood House, Sue Hughes, Our Healthy Clarence, Zak Masters and Jeremy Jablonski from Clarence Youth Action were just some who met with member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis to discuss framework for new suicide prevention strategy at the Popup Hub in Grafton. Adam Hourigan

Suicide prevention framework developing

MENTAL health and well-being groups in the Valley have banded together to have their input into the new state-government framework being created to reduce the rate of suicide across NSW.

Our Healthy Clarence Steering Committee and the Clarence Youth Action group met with Chris Gulaptis yesterday at the Out-of-the-box hub located in Grafton as part of consultations over the Mental Health Commission of NSW and their development of the Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention which will build on current and past work at a State and Commonwealth level.

"The solution to suicide does not lie just with individuals but requires a whole of community approach," Mr Gulaptis said. 

"The responsibility for suicide prevention extends beyond mental health services.

"All tiers of government, community managed organisations, people with lived experience of attempted suicide and suicide bereavement and interested and motivated community members should all work towards improving community well-being and preventing suicide."

He said the new framework aims to help communities face mental health challenges unique to their area.

"We have a very caring and proactive community who are committed to increasing awareness about mental health and bringing support services and training into the local community," he said.

The Clarence Youth Action group of 12 to 25 year olds was formed as a platform to encourage more active youth participation across social issues, such as mental health and help develop a range of community initiatives across the Clarence Valley.

Ms Gabrielle Andrew, a member from Clarence Valley Youth Action group, said they were gathered at the hub to talk about the importance of the consultation.

"The community needs to evolve and develop so anything that comes our way we can help battle with strength. And hope that people are surrounded by the community to help get through."

"To help Bob next door, or Fred down the road...Not the doctor at the clinic you see a couple times a week. It's about everyone around you day-to-day" she said "Community to band together to make it all possible."

Our Healthy Clarence Project Co-ordinator Sue Hughes said a framework is incredibly important, as mental health impacts the community.

Mr Gulaptis said the Government was particularly reaching out to those who have survived a suicide attempt or who have experienced the suicide or attempted suicide of a loved one.

"It is not an easy thing to talk about, I get that, but you could save lives," he said.

An online survey developed by the Commission and a series of consultations around NSW, including one at Lismore, will form a vital part of this work in agreeing on actions to improve existing efforts in suicide prevention and drive a co-ordinated response.

On March 28 a free afternoon tea will take place in Lismore with the NSW Mental Health Commission, with a consultation forum taking place on the March 29 at the Lismore Gateway Motel and Restaurant between 10am to 12.30pm. 

If you or someone you know needs crisis support please call Lifeline 13 11 14, MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78, or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800.

For mental health services phone NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511.

More information, including the online survey, can be found at www.nswmentalhealthcommission.com.au.



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