Suicide prevention program targets locals in need of help

Local Jody McCabe (at centre) has recently joined a local Suicide Prevention Trial Project to work as a project officer. She is pictured with senior project officers Kate Watt and Bec Shepherd.

Local Jody McCabe has been signed up as a new project officer working on a Suicide Prevention Trial Project here in Cobar.

Funded by the Primary Health Network in Western NSW, the project runs until June 2020.

Jody was recently “walked through” her role by fellow senior project officers Bec Shepherd and Kate Watt.

Bec works in the Southern Cluster and assists with training while Kate covers the Northern Cluster which takes in the Local Government area of Cobar plus three other trial sites in Bourke, Brewarrina and Walgett.

“Jody will be networking with all the service providers and developing a local suicide prevention plan and forming partnerships with the local community,” Bec explained.

“Our main target groups are young people (youth), aboriginal people and the mining and rural communities.

“That’s been based on the concerning suicide and self-harm statistics from this local Government area,” she said.

Statistics show there has been an increase in suicide Australia wide with 3,128 people dying from intentional self-harm in 2017 which is a 9.1 per cent rise from 2,866 in 2016.

“It’s really important that we start the conversation around suicide and raising awareness,” Bec said.

“In particular we’ll be working with young people to build resilience and mental health wellbeing so that they hopefully won’t end up with some of the serious mental health issues or drug and alcohol issues that might contribute to them being in a place where they feel that suicide is their only option.

“There’s always help and part of that awareness raising will be to make sure that everyone has access to support, whether it’s face to face support or through the 24 hour crisis line and contacts so there’s follow up.

“Hopefully people will come to feel that they are in a position to ask for help and not feel any stigma or shame around supporting someone or asking for help for themselves.”

Jody’s role in the program in Cobar is specifically around community development.

She will be providing direct casework services and working with the schools, the mining community, the rural community, and with other service providers in town.

“Jody will also connect with other community members, people that we’d refer to as ‘gatekeepers’ or someone that people in town might go to if they had a problem,” Bec explained.

She said these community members will be resourced as well as being trained to start conversations to ask people at risk if they are thinking of harming themselves.

They will have the knowledge of how to assist people and where to get help and support.

Jody will be based out of the Cobar Primary Health Care Centre.