Murray Primary Health Network (PHN) has begun a trial program designed halve suicide rates in Benalla and its surrounding areas by 2025.
The program will work with the local community to develop local strategies and deliver community-driven suicide-prevention plans.
These plans will address local priorities, build on existing support services and will be achieved by involving local services, schools and agencies with strong links to the community.
Benalla is one of 12 sites in Victoria where the state government is trialling place-based suicide prevention initiatives.
It forms part of the Victorian suicide prevention framework 2016-2025, which aims to halve the state’s suicide rate.
Murray PHN has appointed a local project officer to work with the Benalla community to understand local issues and coordinate actions that can be taken to reduce suicide rates.
The organisation’s chair, Matt Jones, said plans would include raising awareness of mental health issues and support services, school-based programs and frontline staff training.
‘‘The aim of the program is to reduce rates of suicide, reduce the number of suicide attempts, improve individual resilience and wellbeing, and improve systems to prevent suicide in an ongoing way,’’ Mr Jones said.
‘‘Mental health, including suicide prevention, is a key priority for Murray PHN across the region, and this program aligns with our goals of ensuring people get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
‘‘Last Sunday was World Suicide Prevention Day, and Australia’s R U OK? Day was held on Thursday (September 14).
‘‘Both of these events are a timely reminder about the work that needs to be done in this area to support individuals and communities.
‘‘We know that suicide is more than just a mental health issue it’s a community one.
‘‘It affects so many people, including families, friends, colleagues and the communities of those who have taken their own lives or attempted suicide.’’
●If you, or someone you know needs support, phone Lifeline on 131114 or beyondblue on 1300224636.