A new education and training project is aiming to prevent suicide by boosting community capacity to recognise the warning signs and support people at risk.
Lifeline Ballarat and Western Victoria Primary Health Network have teamed up to deliver the education and training programs free to 760 people as part of the Ballarat Suicide Prevention Place Based Trial.
The community workshops are open to people who live, work or volunteer in Ballarat, have no previous suicide prevention training are are not already working in the mental health support field.
It is a stepped approach to build capacity in the community for people to identify when someone shows signs of distress or suicide and can assist them until they are linked in with professional help.Jodie van Schie, Lifeline Ballarat program manager
Lifeline Ballarat program manager Jodie van Schie said she was reaching out to gatekeepers in the community, including volunteers at sporting clubs, who were often the first to recognise change in people.
Ballarat City Football Club key volunteers including chairperson David Sproules have already attended training workshops Accidental Counsellor and safeTALK, which began in February.
Mr Sproules said the organisation became involved to encourage more mental health awareness.
"We want to encourage our people to be the best people they can be and be mentally fit and capable and more equipped to be able to handle sport and life," he said.
"The key for me is to ensure we remove the stigma around mental health and to ensure people are open and honest and freely able to talk so they can free their mind and be the best player they can be or be whatever they want to be in their lives."
Data shows suicide is one of leading causes of death in Australians between the ages of 15 and 44.
Nine people die every day by suicide in Australia and a further 135 people are impacted by each death.
Ms van Schie said the workshops were intended to help people recognise the signs of someone who is in distress or thinking of suicide and teach skills to provide help and connect them with professional services.
"It is a stepped approach to build capacity in the community for people to identify when someone shows signs of distress or suicide and can assist them until they are linked in with professional help," she said.
Lifeline Ballarat is encouraging 'gatekeepers' in the community to encourage to register for workshops, including sporting clubs, hairdressers, gyms, employment agencies, TAFE, trades and community groups like men's sheds.
Workshops vary from 90-minute sessions to a two-day course. A two-day ASSIST workshop is scheduled to begin on Mary 27.
Lifeline is hosting an Accidental Counsellor session specifically for hospitality venues on April 27.
For more information or to register for a workshop, phone Lifeline 9051 7470 or e-mail email@example.com or visit meetingplacewestvicphn.com.au/education-and-training-ballarat.
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