Workshop brings together suicide prevention workers from across the State

Published on 20 Jul 2023

For the first time, the Mental Health Commission’s funded suicide prevention workers from across Western Australia came together to attend a three-day workshop in Perth between 13 and 15 June 2023.

The inaugural Suicide Prevention Workshop 2023 provided a platform to establish a unified approach to community-led suicide prevention that aligns with the WA Suicide Prevention Framework 2021-25.  Suicide Prevention Coordinators (SPCs) and Community Liaison Officers (CLOs) came together to share their experiences of working in their communities and identify further opportunities to collaborate.

The SPCs and CLOs are established across Western Australia, from a variety of organisations including Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs), Community Alcohol and Drug Services and WA Country Health Services (WACHS). SPCs and CLOs coordinate activities to build the capacity of stakeholders and empower the community, through community-led activities, to build resilience and social and emotional wellbeing.

To open the workshop, Aunty Liz Hayden conducted a Welcome to Country followed by  the SPCs and CLOs participating in a Rhythm to Recovery drumming session to establish a space that paved the way for open communication and collaboration for the duration of the three days.

The workshop provided the SPCs and CLOs the opportunity to hear from a range of researchers and service providers. Presenters included:

  • Dr Yael Perry and Jacinta Freeman from Telethon Kids Institute, who provided an overview of the development of best practice guidelines for clinical and community service providers in the context of suicide prevention efforts for LGBTQA+ young people, and a new youth suicide prevention modelling project.
  • Dr Nicole Hill from Telethon Kids Institute, who presented an overview of the current evidence-base for postvention responses.
  • Harry McAnulty and Jessica Miles from the Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia, who provided an overview of the Culture Care Connect and Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid Training work that is underway.
  • Dr Colleen Carlon, who led a session on Bereavement Support in the South West.
  • Michael Atkinson from Living Proud provided an overview of the Proud and Connected Community Grants and outlined the initiatives being undertaken across WA.
  • Representatives from WA Primary Health Alliance provided an overview of their Western Australian Suicide Prevention Strategy and the linkages with work of the SPCs and CLOs.

The SPCs and CLOs were introduced to new tools and strategies to work with community, had the opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another, and were afforded facilitated time to plan future strategies and activities surrounded by motivated, supportive and likeminded practitioners.

The workshop included a formal dinner hosted by the Commission, where the SPCs and CLOs showcased the amazing work they are delivering across the regions.  This ranged from on country camps, public education initiatives including a perinatal mental health campaign, trainings opportunities for professionals and community, and community champion projects, just to name a few.

The workshop provided an opportunity to showcase the expertise and passion of the SPCs and CLOs, and the extent of work happening across Western Australia to support some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

When asked about the highlight of the workshop, participants said:

“The break-out [sessions] with the CLO’s coming together to discuss the CLO project, what’s working, what isn’t working and learning about the strategic direction of the Commission.”

“Thank you for investing in this event and bringing us together. It has been amazing.”

Participants at the workshop with drumsParticipants at the workshop, with drums

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