IT might take a village to raise a child, but one of the region’s leaders in mental health says the same goes for avoiding suicide.
The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH) held a forum at Orange Public School (OPS) on Tuesday night to share ideas on how to prevent tragedies from occurring.
About 50 people attended from across the mental health sector.
CRRMH director David Perkins said a further forum for the wider community was under consideration.
“Not one where someone comes from Sydney and tells us what to do, but a forum of the people who live and work in the region, to see what we can do,” he said,
“We can’t expect GPs and the health service to act on their own to stop this happening – it takes a whole community.”
He said a presentation from two OPS teachers on their Kids Matter program was one example.
“They have a program covering four years addressing personal and social skills kids need to have resilient relationships,” he said.
Professor Perkins said a focus on young people was critical because most mental health problems revealed themselves by the age of 25.
He said farming hardships and the drought were also discussed, as well as strengthening communities for potential economic change.
“When we lost Electrolux, we had to reinvent ourselves,” he said.
Prof Perkins said the suicide rate in Orange itself was not particularly high, but while rates in metropolitan centres were eight or nine in 100,000, rates in rural areas were at high as 16.
“The rate across rural NSW is not acceptable,” he said.
“For every death by suicide, 150 people are affected.”
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 000.
If you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s mental health, you can call the NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you would like to help the CRRMH establish a strategy on suicide prevention, call 6363 8444.