Queenslanders asked to give back to their community with free early suicide prevention training

Queenslanders are invited by The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch, to participate in free local early suicide prevention programs to support their local communities.

The two programs, Conversations for Life® and Stronger Smarter Yarns for Life®, are being run as fully funded workshops on the Sunshine Coast and in Bundaberg, Emerald and Rockhampton during late April and early May for both community members and local pharmacists.

The program is made possible through funding provided by both the Federal Government and the Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast PHN (the PHN).

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch’s Acting President, Chris Owen, said that both community members and pharmacy staff will participate together in the integrated training.

“By educating and and upskilling Queenslanders in early suicide prevention, we hope to increase the confidence of community members and pharmacy staff so they can engage in conversations with people at risk for early intervention.”

“The training promotes early conversations, community connections and social inclusion while reducing any stigma related to mental illness,” Mr. Owen said.

“Evidence shows there is likely to be a significant negative mental health stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic1. Trained pharmacy staff and community members must be supported to be confident in engaging in conversations with people at risk for early intervention.”

“Community pharmacies are highly accessible with 97% of consumers living within 2.5km of their local community pharmacy, and 65% in regional areas.2 Pharmacies are also the most frequently visited health destinations and staff are well placed for significant interactions with members of the public.”

“The program will also highlight referral pathways to locally-led suicide prevention services to support practical and ongoing community collaboration.”

The PHN’s Chief Executive Officer, Pattie Hudson, said suicide prevention training and mental health services were a high priority for the primary health network.

“We know suicide is an issue that effects entire communities, so it’s incredibly important we build layers of community protection wherever we can,” Ms. Hudson said.

“Community pharmacists are trusted healthcare professionals who are in a unique position not only to recognise suicidality, but to encourage others in the community to learn how to do it with this kind of training too,” concluded Mr. Owen.

Places are limited. Pharmacy staff and local community members can register for the free training at www.guild.org.au/qldsuicideprevention.

If you are concerned that someone is struggling or might be thinking about suicide and you aren’t sure how to talk to them, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.


  1. Australian Government, 2020. National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan. [online] Available at: https://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/getmedia/1b7405ce-5d1a-44fc-b1e9-c00204614cb5/National-Mental-Health-and-Wellbeing-Pandemic-Response-Plan [Accessed 12 April 2020].
  2. Roy Morgan. 2017. Roy Morgan Image Of Professions Survey 2017: Health Professionals Continue Domination With Nurses Most Highly Regarded Again; Followed By Doctors And Pharmacists. [online] Available at: [Accessed 31 July 2020].

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