Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders has today officially opened the new Dubbo Safe Haven, a refuge for people living in Western NSW struggling with thoughts of suicide or experiencing emotional distress.
Mr Saunders said the new Safe Haven will play an important role in helping people in the local community access immediate support as close to home as possible.
“The Dubbo Safe Haven will be a game-changer for our community, offering a relaxing and supportive alternative to a bustling emergency department,” Mr Saunders said.
“You can have a cup of tea or coffee, make use of its quiet rooms, relax in a massage chair or take advantage of provided puzzles, games and music – all to help better manage negative or suicidal thoughts.
“We also hope any visitors will talk with one of the haven’s Peer Workers who have lived experience. They provide a kind and understanding shoulder to lean on and can help you to identify services to support you on an ongoing basis.”
Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said today’s milestone marks the 15th Safe Haven to be opened in NSW as part of a bigger, state-wide push to trial 20 of these purpose-designed havens across the State, including one in Parkes.
“Suicide is a heart-breaking culmination of many complex factors and we’re aiming to break the cycle of distress that people find themselves in before they need emergency care,” Mrs Taylor said.
“The Dubbo Safe Haven is a place to find safety, a sense of calm and support if you’re having suicidal thoughts and feelings.”
The Dubbo Safe Haven was designed with input from persons with lived experience of suicide and will open Monday to Friday 9am-4.30pm at 229 Church Street to anyone experiencing suicidal distress.
No appointments or referrals are needed, and it is a free and confidential service.
Jason Crisp, WNSWLHD Director of Integrated Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol, said people can expect to find a welcoming and supportive environment at the Safe Haven.
“The guiding philosophy of all who work here is ‘Walumarra Dungal’ – a Wiradjuri word that roughly translates to ‘Protect; to be a guardian, support’, and was worded by Uncle Neil, one of our Aboriginal elders who provided valuable consultation on this project,” Mr Crisp said.
“Anyone is welcome at the Safe Haven, and that includes not just residents of Dubbo and surrounding areas but also people who may be visiting, driving through or from elsewhere in Western NSW.”
The NSW Government has invested $25.1 million for the Safe Haven initiative, which contributes to the Towards Zero Suicides Premier’s Priority.
For more information on Dubbo-based Safe Haven, please visit https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/towardszerosuicides/Pages/safe-haven.aspx
If you, or someone you know, is thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis or distress, please seek help immediately by calling 000 or one of these services: Lifeline 13 11 14. Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467. NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511.