‘Better Off With You’ stops people feeling like a burden
IF THE answer to the question 'Are you OK?' is no, the greater Mackay region may be the best place in Australia to find help.
Two Mackay-based suicide prevention groups have been recognised for their lifesaving services at today's national LiFE Award, from Suicide Prevention Australia.
SANE Australia chief executive officer Jack Heath said the six-week pilot program, which was run exclusively in Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac region and Sydney's Northern Beaches, was an innovative, evidence-informed suicide prevention campaign using real peoples' stories.
Mr Heath said the campaign used social media, radio, television and outdoor advertising to tell the stories of residents who had experienced suicidal thoughts and how they came to see things differently.
"There are more than 500,000 Australians alive today who have attempted suicide at some stage in their lives," Mr Heath said.
"Sadly, we know that for many people who attempt or go on to take their own lives, feeling like a burden can be a major contributing factor."
"When you feel like a burden, it's easy to lose perspective of the positive things you bring to the lives of those around you."
Mr Heath said it was important to involve those with a lived experience of suicide or suicide ideation to shine the light and help save lives.
"We are thankful for the Media LiFE Award in recognising the Better Off With You campaign, and hope it opens up conversations about feeling like a burden which is an aspect of suicidal thinking which is not often discussed."
Suicide Prevention Australia noted that by speaking directly to those who themselves may be contemplating taking their own lives, the campaign broke new ground.
SPA said it could be used to reach those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts across a much larger region.
Mr Heath said the pilot also included a research component to ensure safety, measure impact and inform future national suicide prevention activities.
When Grapevine Group was nominated, president Debbie Knight said while the work was never done for accolades, she was delighted the efforts of Grapevine's volunteers had not gone unnoticed.
Ms Knight said the locally founded charity had trained more than 5600 people in the Mackay region in suicide prevention, distributed more than 200,000 Help-a-Mate cards listing local services and was part of a $20,000 CQUniversity suicide research project.