New campaign calls on Australians to use and learn suicide first aid skills to support Victorians

LivingWorks Australia

“New campaign calls on Australians to use and learn suicide first aid skills to support Victorians in lockdown”

September 8, 2020 – New campaign launched to mobilise thousands of suicide first aid trained community members to support Victorians via a new online platform.

LivingWorks, a global leader in suicide first aid training, has partnered with local health providers in Melbourne and new tech start-up Crisis Heroes, to develop a unique online space where those already trained in suicide first aid can make their skills visible and reach out to those in need.

“We don’t have a clinician on every street corner or immediately available online,” said LivingWorks Australia CEO Shayne Connell, “but we do have more than 200,000 everyday Australians trained in suicide first aid, with at least 50,000 of these people living in Victoria. This network of safety is all around us, you just can’t see it. This is where this pilot partnership comes in, offering an additional layer of community outreach and support.”

Shayne goes on to say, “It takes a village to protect someone from suicide. We know from our friends at R U OK? that a conversation can change a life. We need to complement these essential conversation skills and recently announced government funding for mental health services with building community capacity for suicide first aid.”

Isolation, economic and employment uncertainty, financial stress, relationship breakdown, family violence and drug and alcohol misuse are all known suicide risk factors that may be exacerbated by COVID-19 restrictions. Approximately 40% of people who die by suicide have not been in recent contact with the health system which means friends, family, colleagues, teachers, neighbours and online communities are in a unique position to spot the signs that someone is struggling and connect them with care.

Co-founder of Crisis Heroes, Mark Acheson, says of the partnership, “As Melbourne locals we wanted to support Victorians doing it tough right now. We came up with Crisis Heroes, a free online platform for people to offer and give support to one another, be it running errands, walking someone’s dog or providing emotional support via our online chat function. Since Melbourne’s stage 4 lockdown, we’ve seen a 78 per cent increase in people requesting support, most of these in the form of an online chat. By partnering with LivingWorks we’re bringing more people to the platform with the skills to support someone to stay safe.”

LivingWorks recognise that people within Victoria may not always have the capacity to support each other right now, so are welcoming all Australians trained in suicide first aid to register on the Crisis Heroes platform and support those in need.

This pilot campaign is also encouraging people who have not trained in suicide first aid, but are willing and able, to complete the introductory online suicide first aid program, LivingWorks Start.

South Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (SEMPHN) and North Western Melbourne Primary Health Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) in Victoria are funding a number of Start licences for residents of Melbourne’s South East and North West.

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