Local paramedic Alex Devonshire-Gill and suicide prevention support worker Anne Evans will feature in a new television and social media advertising campaign designed to promote an important suicide prevention tool.
Country SA PHN is creating the campaign to promote QPR, an online suicide prevention training program that is available for all community members to undertake for free.
It comes at a time when many community members might be dealing with increased stress and anxiety as a result of COVID-19.
“The advertising campaign we are creating is an extension of our work to roll out the largest community capacity building strategy ever seen in regional South Australia,” Country SA PHN CEO Kim Hosking said.
“More than 1600 people from across regional South Australia have already accessed the QPR training which has created a vital layer of additional community protection.
“We want to keep building that community protection so we’re encouraging anyone who hasn’t done the training yet to go ahead and do it – you never know when you might need to use the skills it teaches to help someone.”
QPR, which stands for question, persuade, refer, is designed to provide everyday people with three simple steps to help save a life from suicide.
After completing QPR, 88% of participants to date have rated their knowledge of how to ask someone about suicide as high to very high – as opposed to only 23% prior to completing the training.
Furthermore, 89% of participants rated their knowledge of how to get help for someone as high to very high range – as opposed to only 31% prior to completing the training.
Suicide prevention support worker Anne Evans said it was important for the community to know that everyone can make a difference.
“This training is designed to give you important skills and knowledge; it helps to better prepare you for situations,” she said.
Paramedic Alex Devonshire-Gill said increased awareness combined with an effort to change the stigma around mental health would lead to a positive outcome.
“I would encourage everyone to do the training,” he said.
“By doing so, you’ll be helping your friends, family and the community.”
The television advertisement will also feature residents and locations from Port Augusta, Port Lincoln and Whyalla. Initially, campaign activity will be aired within the National Suicide Prevention Trial region which includes Whyalla, Port Lincoln, Port Augusta, Port Pirie and the towns in between.
“We know COVID-19 is causing additional stress and anxiety for many people currently for a whole range of reasons,” Mr Hosking said.
“This training will give community members the skills, confidence and a clear pathway for how to support those around them who might be struggling, be it a colleague, friend or family member.”