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Suicide Prevention Forum brings people together to work towards a solution

9 April 2019 Media releases

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The first Western New South Wales Regional Suicide Prevention Forum will be held in Dubbo this week bringing together community members and suicide prevention specialists.

The forum presented by Western NSW Primary Health Network (WNSW PHN) in partnership with Wesley LifeForce, will be an opportunity to share knowledge and practical strategies to help prevent suicide across the region.

The forum will run from April 9-11 and includes presentations about current initiatives, the latest research findings, programs and resources.

Participants will also have the opportunity to have their say on the first Western NSW Regional Suicide Prevention Plan which is currently being prepared by WNSW PHN.

"Bringing together people who have the knowledge and the lived experience is essential to developing effective strategies to prevent suicide in western NSW," WNSW PHN CEO Andrew Harvey said.

"The suicide rate in Western NSW is higher than the state average and WNSW PHN is developing localised strategies to address common sources of distress such as isolation and disconnection from family, friends, community and culture. We also wish to support communities expand their knowledge, skills and confidence in being able to recognise the signs that someone may be going through hard times and provide appropriate support,"

"A suitable approach to suicide prevention is different in different areas of our region and a tailored local response, based on input from local workers and community members is essential for this challenging issue, especially in rural and remote areas and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities."

The CEO of Wesley Mission, the Rev Keith Garner added, “Wesley Mission facilitates a local, grassroots approach to suicide prevention. Local people are best suited to identify local issues and problems and come up with local solutions."

“This forum delivered in partnership with WNSW PHN provides the regional community with an opportunity to engage in planning and to work to improve community resilience."

“Wesley LifeForce has been working with local communities across Australia including those who have been impacted by drought and other natural disasters. This work also supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and brings together the voice of lived experience, local first responders and regional service providers.”

The WNSW PHN and Wesley LifeForce teams look forward to seeing the impact of these conversations across the broader Western NSW region.

Keynote speakers at the forum include: Leilani Darwin, founder and managing director of Dulili Voices and an advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led, culturally informed practices within mainstream services.

Pip Job, Manager of Business Resilience programs at the NSW Department Primary Industries who also leads the Rural Resilience Program.

Warren Davis, founder of The Unbreakable Farmer who regularly speaks on resilience, persistence, determination, leadership and wellbeing.

Joe Williams, founder of The Enemy Within, a former NRL player Mr Williams is now a highly-regarded mental health advocate.

About Western NSW Primary Health Network

Western Health Alliance Ltd, trading as the Western NSW Primary Health Network (WNSW PHN) is one of 31 Primary Health Networks across Australia, established by the Australian Government to support and strengthen general practice, Aboriginal health services, allied health professionals and other health professionals working in primary health care.

Our region is aligned with both the Far West and Western NSW Local Health Districts and covers much of rural and remote NSW, with a population that has diverse health needs. While our focus is primary health care, we work in partnership with other community and secondary care providers, hospitals and the broader community to help build a more integrated health system, especially for people living with chronic health conditions and their families and carers.

We acknowledge that we work on the traditional lands of many Aboriginal clans, tribes and nations. We commit to working in collaboration with our region’s Aboriginal communities and peoples to improve their health, emotional and social wellbeing in the spirit of partnership.

About Wesley LifeForce

Wesley LifeForce provides suicide prevention services that educate and empower local communities, supporting people most at risk. Established in 1995 by Wesley Mission, Wesley LifeForce began as a response to the growing number of suicides in Australia and has since trained more than 40,000 Australians in suicide prevention skills in metropolitan, regional and remote Australia. Wesley LifeForce is recognised as both a leading provider of ethical and effective suicide prevention services, and as an organisation that empowers and resources Australian communities to reduce suicide.

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