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3 April 2019

Suicide Prevention: This Easter Know How to Help When it’s Needed Most

While for many of us Easter is a time for relaxation and social connection for some, an extended break can be a time for loneliness and despair. Knowing Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) training can assist you, to help friends and family through tough times and ultimately save their lives from suicide.

QPR is a free on-line training module available to all country South Australians. It’s designed to provide everyone with three simple steps to help save a life from suicide.  

In the last 12 months more than 1100 people have accessed QPR right across country South Australia.

QPR was established after a Country SA PHN survey found that 68% of country South Australians wanted additional training and upskilling opportunities in suicide prevention.

“Regional areas traditionally have higher rates of suicide and that’s a statistic we all want to change. But, importantly, we want to provide regional communities with the tools to feel empowered to be a part of that change,” Country SA PHN Chief Executive Kim Hosking said.

“Not everybody who is experiencing suicidal thoughts has immediate access to mental health services. This is particularly the case for country South Australians, so it makes sense for as many people as possible to be QPR trained to add a protective factor to suicide prevention.

“Having this community layer of support is especially important at times like Easter where many people can feel lonely and isolated.”

Andrea Triggs, Operations Manager at Country and Outback Health, sees QPR as an essential skill for the organisation’s staff to have. She’s mandated all non-clinical staff to be QPR trained.

“We want our people who are often the first port of call for the community to have the tools to know how to talk to people, how best to help them and where to refer them,” said Andrea Triggs.

“I’ve done the program myself and found it very helpful. I’ve used it personally to have a conversation with a friend that I may not have been able to have before doing QPR training.

”It’s very important that at a time like Easter we all remain vigilant to how our friends and families are feeling and that we’re able to help them if they need it.”

Lack of access to mental health services can be a major perceived barrier to help-seeking in regional South Australia.

“QPR training reduces this barrier, providing free training opportunities regardless of location. It’s a great way to assist people to help others. People are our biggest asset in regional communities,” Mr Hosking said.

“Adding this community layer is improving the health literacy of the general population, making a reduction in suicide rates achievable.”

Another service available to all country South Australians who have a concern, a worry or just want  someone to chat with right across the Easter break is Regional Access. Commissioned and funded by Country SA PHN, the free online or phone service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Regional Access is available to everyone over 16, in regional or remote South Australia. It’s staffed by professionally trained counsellors who are ready to listen, encourage and provide individual strategies to best manage situations and provide further support.

With Easter just around the corner Mr Hosking says there’s no time like the present to complete your QPR training.

“We’re encouraging all members of the community to do it. It takes less than an hour of your time 
and it could help you save a life one day.”

To access the free QPR training go to www.countrysaphn.com.au and use the code CSA.

Or for immediate support contact Regional Access 24/7. Go to www.saregionalaccess.org.au or call 1300 032 186

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