Hay suicide group praised by government committee
A local suicide awareness group has won praise from a newly established government-led committee that is implementing a statewide preventative strategy.
The Chairman of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Suicide Prevention Nicolas Parkhill says 80 per cent of suicides involve people who have not had contact with health services, so community awareness is vital.
He says the Hay Community Action for Suicide Elimination, or CASE group, is a model for other communities.
"What Peter Dwyer is doing in Hay is absolutely on track, you know mobilising the community training people so they can actually identify early on when someone's actually having a problem and equipping people in the community to have those conversations, that's exactly the kind of initiative we need to see happening," he said.
There have been six suicides at Hay in the last 18 months and residents are being trained to notice warning signs, with high school students the next to receive training.
Mr Parkhill says he would like to see other communities learning lessons from Hay.
"The model in Hay is a perfect model and I think for other at risk groups, whether it be Aboriginal community or the gay and lesbian community," he said.
"Upskilling those communities so they can identify one of their mates or one of their friends isn't tracking so well so that they can intervene.
"That's exactly the kind of model that we need to be doing.
"Suicide prevention is not just the domain of health departments and it's not just the domain of governments but it really needs to be a whole of community undertaking to address the problem."
ABC Riverina News - 28th February, 2012