Fears over risk of suicide

David SalvaireSound Telegraph
VideoThe stigmas of mental illness and suicide have damaging results on everyone around us.

Local stakeholders met this week in a bid to address troubling youth suicide rates in Rockingham and Kwinana as the Federal Government moves forward with plans for a prevention trial.

Representatives from headspace, South Coastal Women’s Health Services, NDIS, Ruah Community Service, Relationships Australia and Community First were at the Rockingham roundtable meeting on Monday.

Last year, the Perth South region was named among 12 sites across the country for the suicide prevention trial.

Led by the Perth South Primary Health Network, the trial aims to look at the models of regional suicide prevention and youth mental health activity. While many in the community welcomed the trial, there have been frustrations over delays in its implementation.

Brand MHR Madeleine King, who hosted the roundtable, said young lives were being put at risk.

“Just last Friday we had a terrible car accident in our community and these incidents have extraordinary ripple effects,” she said.

“If these services aren’t ready to go when these tragic accidents occur then we don’t have the ability to build the resilience needed.

“You can’t keep holding back on the delivery of these promises because people count on them, especially with mental health.”

Shadow assistant minister for mental health Deborah O’Neill was also on hand and said the delays were “inexcusable”.

“The cost of inaction when we’re talking about suicide prevention is the loss of life ... and so far there have only been calls for expressions of interest in the trial,” she said. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said preventing suicide was a complex problem and a one-size-fits-all strategy might not be the best approach.

“The trial is not about routine ongoing services — it’s about learning how best to prevent suicide at a local level and how we can provide the best support to individuals at risk,” he said.

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