Free suicide awareness training to build community strength in face of COVID-19

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USC’s Alliance for Suicide Prevention – Sunshine Coast will offer free online training to help community members stay alert to the signs of known precursors to suicide, as many people struggle with additional life pressures due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Alliance is coordinated by USC’s Sunshine Coast Mind & Neuroscience – Thompson Institute and was formed specifically in response to the Sunshine Coast’s suicide rate, which is higher than the national average.

Thompson Institute Strategic Partnerships Manager Mervat Quirke said the free online training took 60 to 90 minutes to complete and was open to all members of the community.

“With one person lost to suicide every week on the Sunshine Coast, we need to work together as a community to support our family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues,” she said.

“By undertaking this online training course, you can learn how to recognise the signs that a person might be having thoughts of suicide and become equipped to start a conversation that could save a life.”

Ms Quirke said the training incorporated video scenarios and interactive learning based on evidence and didn’t require any previous experience to take part.

Thompson Institute Mental Health Nurse Research Officer Monique Jones said it was more important than ever that the community be armed with the skills to identify that a person might be at risk of suicide and act to keep them safe.

“This training was already important for our community, but things like financial pressures, social isolation and stress – which many are experiencing as a result of COVID-19 – are known risk factors that could lead to suicide,” she said.

A survey is also incorporated into the training to help USC researchers better understand the long-term effectiveness of the online suicide alertness training.

In the past year The Alliance has trained more than 400 community members to be suicide alert through face-to-face workshops.

To find out more information or register for the training visit www.thealliance.org.au/training/start/

 
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