New research highlights the important role friends, family and workmates can play in reducing suicide

The Illawarra Shoalhaven’s Suicide Prevention Collaborative has issued a reminder that we all have a role to play in suicide prevention – and you don’t have to be an expert to make a difference.

This comes on the back of new research by beyondblue, which found that everyday Australians want to help family and friends at risk of suicide; yet 50 per cent of participants in the study believed that only a professional can make a difference. 

Dr Alex Hains, Regional Manager of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative, said there are simple, safe steps that friends, family and workmates can take to identify and support someone at risk.

“We all have a role to play in suicide prevention. It could be as simple as signing up to do the Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) training, a one-hour online course for just $10, which will help you recognise warning signs for suicide” Dr Hains said.

“QPR will give you with the skills to identify changes in behaviour, non-verbal cues and indirect verbal expressions that could indicate suicidal thoughts. It will also give you the confidence to talk to a family member, friend or colleague about their suicidal thoughts and connect them with professional care,” he added.

“This is extremely important, as the research found that for people who have thought about suicide, having someone listen to them and show care and support was the most important thing to them – and you don’t need to be a professional to do that!”

The Collaborative has been working with a number of leading employers across the region, including Wollongong City Council, Kiama Council, Shellharbour Council, COORDINARE – South Eastern NSW PHN and Waminda to rollout QPR online training to staff.

“It’s pleasing to see that so many organisations have already signed up to enable staff to undertake this training, and we encourage more to get involved. After all, staff are well placed to notice when a colleague is under a lot of stress or not coping,” said Dr Hains.

Register here and learn how to help people at risk of suicide in your community, or contact the Collaborative directly on 1300 069 002 to enquire about QPR for your organisation.