Wesley LifeForce Conference empowers suicide prevention at a local level
The 2019 Wesley LifeForce Conference recently shed light on the increasing suicide rates of older Australians and other high-risk population groups across the nation.
Held in Hobart, the conference brought together 145 delegates including Wesley LifeForce Network representatives, Wesley LifeForce staff, key suicide prevention stakeholders and community mental health organisations to connect, share, learn and advocate for suicide prevention services within Australia’s diverse communities.
The conference had a two-fold purpose: to develop a strategy to engage high-risk communities and provide support to representatives from across the country, who work at the coalface of suicide prevention.
Speakers representing different high-risk community population groups including youth, First Nation Australians, men, culturally and linguistically diverse groups, older Australians and remote communities, shared their stories, tools and strategies they’ve implemented at the coalface. Delegates also participated in working groups to connect and build relationships across regions to look at these issues and how they can work together to better support their communities.
“It’s about providing communities opportunities to connect with other like-minded communities around addressing suicide. What we know of working in the suicide prevention space is that communities can often feel alone in their work,” said James Bell, Group Manager, Wesley LifeForce Suicide Prevention Services.
“Our intent was for them to go back to their communities with a network, knowing they're not alone in tackling such a prominent and prevalent issue.”
The conference included a memorial service to remember those who lost their lives to suicide.
For more than ten years, the annual Wesley LifeForce Conference has been leading the way in suicide prevention by empowering local communities to act.
“Our conferences are unique and provide community members a platform to feel empowered to share their stories, key lessons learnt and discover new initiatives. Community members take back these learnings to their communities to make further change,” said James.