Every life matters, and though suicide may take one, more may yet be saved.
That was the message ahead of a key meeting for the Murray Bridge Suicide Prevention Community Network on Monday.
The network’s members – everyone from public servants to social workers, community volunteers and school counsellors – will work on an action plan aimed at stopping people taking their own lives and reducing the impact on bereaved friends, colleagues and family members.
Lynne James, from the Office of South Australia’s Chief Psychiatrist, said the action plan was an important step in building a network and a community that supported, rather than shunned, people touched by suicide.
“What we’re looking for is a whole-of-community response: people looking out for the signs, making people resilient … working with (bereaved) families so they can grow, get back to work and be part of the community again,” she said.
Members will decide how best the network might help the community, whether by conducting attitude surveys, providing training or steering people towards support groups such as Silent Ripples.
“If there is a suicide, people become despondent that they haven’t been successful (in preventing it),” she said.
“How do we as a community try not to let it happen again; what can we learn?
“No matter how much we do, people will still take their lives, but if you can…get people to talk about it, you can prevent it.”
The network’s success would always be hard to measure, she said, as no statistic could show the number of people whose lives had been saved.
Nonetheless, its members will aim to make Murray Bridge a more inclusive, resilient and supportive community.
– Details: The Murray Bridge Suicide Prevention Community Network meeting will be held on Monday, June 30, from 9am to 4pm, at the Murray Bridge?Town?Hall.
If you have experienced suicidal thoughts, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.For information and support call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or visit www.beyondblue.com.au.
Locally, bereaved friends and family members can gain understanding and support through Silent Ripples by phoning 0429 017 858 or visiting the memorial garden at the Roundhouse, Murray Bridge.
This article first appeared in The Murray Valley Standard on 26 June, 2014.