Conversations can make a difference

During this week on World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September) and R U OK? Day (12 September) we’re reminded to ask, “Are you OK?” and to remember that every day of the year we should support people who may be struggling with life’s ups and downs.

Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network (MPHN) CEO Melissa Neal said having conversations about mental health can minimise stigma and encourage people to seek help when they need it.

“We want people needing support to reach out to family or friends, and then for people to feel confident about having conversations, and suicide prevention training offers practical tips to help people have these discussions.

“We encourage everyone to get involved. After all, mental health is everyone’s business”, Ms Neal said.

MPHN is providing QPR training to individuals living in the Murrumbidgee and offering grants to drought affected communities for mental health and wellbeing activities.

QPR (Question Persuade Refer) is online suicide prevention training offered free to individuals living in the Murrumbidgee. In under an hour you can gain the skills to identify someone who is at risk, the confidence to talk to them and the knowledge to connect them with professional care.

“We encourage people to complete the QPR training and also for our communities to consider applying for one of our Murrumbidgee Community Grants.

“We know the impacts of drought extend beyond farmers and their families in rural communities, and these grants have been designed to support the mental health and wellbeing of our communities.

“Grants could be for activities such as a community barbecue to connect people, regular exercise or yoga classes, or community education or workshops around managing stress or anxiety.

“It’s always ok to ask for help. Talk to your family and friends and let them know how you’re feeling. Check in with family and friends and ask if they are ok,” Ms Neal said.

Do QPR training to feel more confident to start a conversation with someone you think might be experiencing suicidal thoughts or communicating their distress through their words or actions.

To find out more information about LifeSpan and QPR training please visit lifespanmurrumbidgee.org.au, or come and visit our stand in the Country Lifestyle Pavilion at the Henty Machinery Field Days.

If you, or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, call Accessline in the Murrumbidgee 1800 800 944, Lifeline 13 11 14, or call 000.

Debbie Angel