Each year approximately 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental health disorder, which impacts the individual, friends, family, carers, colleagues, and the community. Many people do not feel they are knowledgeable or confident enough to offer help.
Suicide Prevention Trial Coordinator Jacki Ward is working to change that, upskilling almost 300 community members across 36 training sessions, as part of the four-year Midwest Suicide Prevention Trial run by WA Primary Health Alliance.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training and Question, Persuade, Refer Suicide Prevention (QPR) training has been made available to the community, as one of many initiatives taking place across the Trial to target suicide rates among Aboriginal people and men aged 25 to 54, specifically farmers, fishers and fly in, fly out workers in the region.
The Mental Health First Aid Training teaches participants to recognise the signs of depression, suicidal ideation and other mental illnesses and what to do to assist people effectively, while the QPR Training provides suggestions on how to ask the difficult question “are you thinking of suicide?”, how to persuade people to seek help and how and where to refer them.
“These courses give both community members and health professionals the skills to be able to assist others in the community. They are given the tools to be able to recognise someone’s deteriorating mental health and to support them,” Ms Ward said.
Training has been run in Kalbarri, Northampton, Mingenew, Geraldton, Three Springs, Carnamah, Carnarvon, Denham, Exmouth and Meekatharra, with more planned for Morawa and other centres in the Midwest in 2019.
“I thought the course was informative and educational in a relaxed learning environment. It certainly gave me a better understanding of mental health issues and gave me tools to make me aware of others needs in the community,” said a participant.
WA Primary Health Alliance is leading three Suicide Prevention Trials in Western Australia, located in the Midwest, the Kimberley and the Peel, Rockingham and Kwinana regions.
These locations have been chosen by the Australian Government due to the higher than average suicide rates experienced. The Trials aim to find the most effective approaches to suicide prevention for at-risk populations and share this knowledge across Australia, with Mental Health First Aid training as one of many initiatives taking place.
To find out more about booking a course for your own organisation or community, or to learn more about the Midwest Suicide Prevention Trial, contact Project Coordinator Jacki Ward on 0438 784 650.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs help, contact:
Lifeline 13 11 14
Mental Health Support Helpline 1800 048 636
Men’s Helpline 1300 789 978
In an emergency, call triple zero (000).
Watch our video below to learn more about the Midwest Suicide Prevention Trial.