A band of ‘Gatekeepers’ will be rolled out in the region, with the NSW Government investing $2.8 million over the next three years to train 10,000 volunteers in suicide prevention skills.
Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders has welcomed the program and said having a local network of people trained to spot when someone is struggling will benefit the whole community.
“This life-saving program will mean that when a person shows signs of needing help, there will be someone in their circle who can make sure they stay safe and seek support,” Mr Saunders said.
“Suicide is still a topic that doesn’t receive a lot of mainstream attention but unfortunately it impacts more people than any of us would like to imagine, so measures that can be implemented to try and reduce the rate of people taking their own lives are vital.”
Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said ‘Gatekeepers’ will play a critical role in community-based suicide prevention because they help connect workmates, friends and family to professional support.
“We are building a safety net within the community because tragically over 40 per cent of people who die by suicide have not reached out for professional support,” she said.
“Gatekeeper training gives people the skills to recognise the signs that someone is at risk of suicide and the confidence to start a conversation with them about how to access support,” she said.
Gatekeeper training will be provided by 13 organisations with expertise in engaging specific at-risk communities.
Towards Zero Suicides is a NSW Premier’s Priority investing $87 million over three years in new suicide prevention initiatives. For more information, or to apply to become a Gatekeeper, visit: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/gatekeeper