Published on 7 Aug 2017
Published on 7 Aug 2017
A number of members and past Conference delegates have gotten in touch with us to confirm dates for the 2018 National Suicide Prevention Conference being held in Adelaide SA. Following your feedback from this year, we’re pleased to advise that the conference will be held entirely during the week – minimising the impact, where we can, on resourcing implications for organisations and personal time away from home.
The pre-conference workshops will be held on Monday 23 July 2018, with the keynotes and concurrent conference sessions going from Tuesday 24 – Thursday 26 July.
We have arranged the conference to take place on weekdays to better suit work schedules but if you have time either side of the conference, we encourage you to experience more of what our beautiful host city of Adelaide has to offer. For more information on what South Australia has to offer please visit www.southaustralia.com.
So save the date in your 2018 calendar now (23 – 26 July 2018), and we look forward to seeing you there.
If you have any questions between now and then, please get in touch with the Conference Secretariat, Encanta Event Management
Suicide Prevention Australia remembers those we have lost to suicide and acknowledges the suffering suicide brings when it touches our lives. We are brought together by experience and unified by hope.
This man is funny, the website is brilliant, and the material in it is very comprehensive…
Working aged men (25-54 years old) account for the largest number of suicide deaths in the U.S. These men are also the least likely to receive any kind of support. They don’t talk about it with their friends. They don’t share with their family. And they sure as heck don’t seek professional treatment. They are the victims of problematic thinking that says mental health disorders are unmanly signs of weakness.
And I, Dr. Rich Mahogany, am dedicated to changing that. Part of a multi- agency effort, including the Colorado Office of Suicide Prevention and Cactus, Man Therapy® is giving men a resource they desperately need. A resource to help them with any problem that life sends their way, something to set them straight on the realities of suicide and mental health, and in the end, a tool to help put a stop to the suicide deaths of so many of our men.
To learn more about the research behind the campaign, please read Man Therapy: An Innovative Approach to Suicide Prevention in Working Aged Men. To learn more about campaign achievements and outcomes 18 months after launch, please read Man Therapy: Outreach and Impact of Men’s Mental Health Program 18 Months After Launch. To learn more about the campaign customizing to sub-populations of men, like first responders and military/ veteran populations, please read Therapy for Men Who Consider Sirens Driving Music: Man Therapy for First Responders.
If your group or organization is interested in using Dr. Rich Mahogany and ManTherapy.org, please contact me at DrRichMahogany@cactusdenver.com.
Man Therapy® is designed to help men deal with issues like depression, anxiety, anger and suicidal thoughts. But it also can be a valuable resource for their friends or loved ones. If you’re here because you’re worried about a man in your life, you’ve come to the right place.
Get started by taking the 20pt Head Inspection with your loved one in mind. This will give you an idea of areas in the office to explore. You can also share mantherapy.org with anyone, at any time
BEYOND BLUE: After surviving the loss of both a brother and a son to suicide within the space of seven years, Soraya Saraswati has written a book which she hopes will help other people work through grief.
SORAYA Saraswati’s son, Prem, promised her he would be all right and be able to help people by the time he was 24.
And she once promised him she that he would never be forgotten and she would one day tell his story.
Soraya has just published a book which keeps both of their promises in the year Prem would have turned 24.
Just days before his 18th birthday in 2009, on the brink of manhood, Prem took his own life.
He died two years to the day that Soraya’s brother took his own life.
Shining Through: From Grief to Gratitude, is a story about Soraya and Prem, and her journey through trauma and grief to living life once again in its fullness.
Since Prem’s death, Soraya, a Palmwoods-based mindfulness coach, yoga and meditation teacher, has become active in suicide awareness and prevention.
She hopes the book will help other people move on from past traumatic events in their life, be in the loss of a loved one through suicide or a different tragedy.
“What keeps me going is that I want my son’s life to not be in vain. His life will make a difference through this book,” she said.
Prem, the second of Soraya’s four children, had struggled with life in his teenage years and had developed issues with binge drinking, drugs and anxiety.
He was in hospital, where Soraya thought he was safe, when he decided to end his life, only hours after telling her he would see her the next morning.
In the days afterwards, when he was still alive on life support, Soraya began writing notes, thoughts and memories, on scraps of paper.
“I starting writing to get me through that. I got home and through it all in a pile and thought, ‘I can’t go there’,” she said.
It would be about a year before she could revisit the notes and begin writing what has become Shining Through.
Soraya has since remembered Prem’s words to her that he would one day help people.
“He said to me, ‘Don’t worry, Mum, I’ll get through this and when I’m 24, I’ll be able to help people.
“It’s Prem’s legacy. He has helped me write our story.”
“It’s really important that his life is not in vain, no-one’s life is in vain. His legacy will go on through this book,” she said.
We are doing this research project, The Reasons to go on Living Project, to understand how people’s thinking changes after a suicide attempt. We do not understand the thinking processes that occur for people who choose to go on living after an attempt and there is very little research in this area. We believe that if we had a better understanding of how people found the strength to go living after an attempt, we might be able to better help people who are thinking of ending their lives, before they make an attempt.
There are two purposes for The Reasons to go on Living Project. One is to collect stories from people who have made a suicide attempt and now want to go on living. Stories offer a wonderful opportunity to learn about people’s experiences, especially when trying to understand life events that are not well understood. The stories will be read and analyzed by researchers to learn and come to a better understanding of how people find their personal reasons to go on living.
The second purpose is educational. Some stories will be shared through this website and what is learned from the analysis will be posted online and published in medical journals.
The Reasons to go on Living Project is supported by a 2008 AFP Psychiatry Associates Research and Educational Development Infrastructure Grant, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario. The Project has been approved by the Research Ethics Board at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton, Ontario.
I found this book in an op shop and bought it on spec, some sort of synchronicity. I did not know the author, although the name seemed familiar to me. I now know that he is a prolific Irish writer and a Booker Prize winner, for his 2005 novel, “The Sea”.
“We carry the dead with us only until we die too, and then it is we who are borne along for a little while, and then our bearers in their turn drop, and so on into the unimaginable generations.”
― John Banville, The Sea
“You will remember this when all else fades, this moment, here, together, by this well. There will be certain days, and certain nights, you’ll feel my presence near you, hear my voice. You’ll think you have imagined it and yet, inside you, you will catch an answering cry. On April evenings, when the rain has ceased, your heart will shake, you’ll weep for nothing, pine for what’s not there. For you … there will forever be an emptiness, where once the god was all in you.”
― John Banville, The Infinities
‘Ancient Light’ is a man in his early 60’s, still working as an actor, but with the height of his career behind him, and a wife he loves. With a calm, sonorous voice, he tells us the story of his first love at 16, with the married mother of his best friend, even more scandalous then, and intertwined with this, his present life, which includes the suicide of his daughter in her twenties, a decade before. He tells us this story too, of a troubled, loved girl, who grew into a troubled, loved young women, and grew no further. As another troubled young woman comes into his life. It is a story of grief and mourning, and accommodation and acceptance. It is a polished pearl of a book, and in there is peace.
SUICIDAL thoughts often come after humiliation, then a feeling of entrapment, then a desire for “liberation”.
I was standing inside a tacky “instant cash loan” place in main street, Dandenong, I had just applied for a $200 loan.
“Sorry love we can’t help you today,” the Eastern European lady at the loan shop I’ll call CASH NOW EXCITING WOW said.
I was broke and living on a friend’s couch. I went to three other “instant cash loan” places who said no to giving me a loan that day. Plus I’d been into Centrelink and asked for a cash advance — I got rejected for that too.
I also had a bad back and was losing my battle with the insurance company. I’d just borrowed money from a friend earlier that day — she needed it by the next morning for her daughter’s school excursion. CASH NOW EXCITING WOW’s final rejection meant I realised I couldn’t repay her by that night like I promised.
Twelve months earlier I had a well-paying, high-status job; I’d been on TV, the radio, I wrote for magazines — everyone took my call when I was a journalist — most people wanted to be my friend.
After CASH NOW’s rejection I felt disconnected, life seemed pointless; broken beyond repair. I walked for hours plotting ways to die. I eventually followed one street all the way to Dandenong Hospital’s emergency room and told them I wanted to kill myself.
It wasn’t the first time I’d been suicidal. But it was the first time that financial despair had driven me to it.
And the experience turned out to be illuminating in more ways than one — years later, I would start reading and find what is rarely talked about: The link between being on a lower-income and suicide.
THE LINK BETWEEN OCCUPATION, CASH AND FEELING SUICIDAL
Not that long ago terms like “affluenza” and “cashed-up bogans” were freely thrown around. Yes we know that “money doesn’t make you happy”, but being dirt poor can drive you to despair — male suicide in Australia was at the highest in the 1930s Great Depression.
Many studies show the link between unemployment and suicide: unemployed men suicide about 4.62 times the rate of employed men in Australia according the latest research by the University of Melbourne.
The latest available ABS figures show Australia’s annual suicide rate is 12 per 100,000 — the highest in 10 years. We know men are more at risk, so too LGBTI people and the indigenous. But since 2002, ABS data hasn’t recorded occupation or income (currently it looks only at age, race, gender) of those who have taken their own life — when it did it showed the unemployed, tradies and labourers were the ones most likely to suicide.
Contemporary figures showing the link between income, class and suicide proved hard to find. But the suicide rate for trades people is 21 per 100,000 and for labourers it’s an astonishing 34 per 100,000 (nearly triple the national average).
Compare that to the suicide rates of male managers of 7 suicides per 100,000, and middle-class professionals of 13 per 100,000.
There are a few aberrations including veterinarians and those working in the medical profession, who have high suicide rates, but otherwise the trend appears relatively clear.
LOSS OF HOPE AND PURPOSE
“The main drivers of suicide are disconnection, and a loss of hope and purpose,” Alan Woodward Director of Lifeline Australia told news.com.au.
“We know financial struggles and personal indebtedness is a factor that can lead people to feel suicidal … if you are unemployed there is a strong chance your social network will reduce and you may experience some loss of a sense of contributing to the community.”
“Some occupations have some features, less control of the nature of their work, less fulfilment, job satisfaction, possibility to exposure to unsafe areas.
And of course — most of those jobs are male-dominated.
“Traditional masculine behaviour and attitudes have been found to relate to reduced and delayed help-seeking for mental health problems,” he said.
When I reflect back on the day my financial crisis led to suicidal ideation, I do think about the lack of meaning in my life right then. I had tried to do everything right: I had been studying law, I’d spent most of my life climbing the socio-economic ladder just as my parents had lifted themselves out of their parents’ poverty. There I was — begging for money.
But it wasn’t just disappointment — it was something else.
My Dad is on a disability support pension after being diagnosed with bipolar disorder 10 years ago. He has attempted suicide a few times. His Dad had schizophrenia and suicided. My Dad’s brother also took his own life, so did my cousin.
The easy conclusion: It’s simply a matter of genetics.
Yet, my Dad’s family all grew up in poverty; the other kids teased them because they couldn’t afford socks or underwear.
I also remember, for instance, my Mum telling me that when she first met Dad (when he was in his early 20s) and they went to meet her sister’s boyfriend, he was so ashamed is to go because my Aunt’s boyfriend worked in a bank. He sat there for the entire coffee session in total silence.
Dad, who left school at 13 an illiterate, was embarrassed by his own manner, his way of speech and that people used words he didn’t understand.
It’s the similar feeling I think when I was volunteering aged 23 at a community radio station working part-time as a telemarketer — surrounded by 19-year-olds who already had part-time jobs in the industry. It’s that feeling that men in particular — who are raised to be the best and the strongest — can feel crushed by.
SO WHY DON’T WE TALK ABOUT THIS DURING MENTAL HEALTH WEEK?
Conclusions are not easy to form here; not least of all because the ABS does not publish these figures, so we don’t know which income group the rise of suicides is coming from.
What is clear is that the examination of socio-economic issues are excluded from suicide campaigns, most of our major mental health groups don’t focus on them, they don’t utter a whisper in our annual Mental Health Week and are conspicuously absent from our National Suicide Prevention Strategy.
Stephen Platt, Professor of Health Policy Research in the Centre for Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, has argued nearly all national suicide prevention strategies internationally (with the exception, he says, of New Zealand) do not have specific targets to reduce the unequal distribution of suicide risk by income-level.
REACHING OUT TO YOUR MATES IN CONSTRUCTION
Since 2008, a specialist charity has been working within the construction industry to train workers on how to identify and then help their co-workers who may be feeling suicidal.
Mates in Construction is run by Jorgen Gullestrup, a former construction worker who suffered chronic depression in his early career.
“We have a number of things inherent in the industry that make it a risk for suicide. 98 per cent of our workers are men — who are far more likely to suicide — and we have lots of lower-skilled workers too, who have higher rates of suicides. We also work in an industry where we have very low job security, people work six day weeks and very long hours of work. Then that can be followed by a period of no shifts all,” Gullestrup told news.com.au.
“We got a report done a few years ago (about suicide in the construction industry) and it showed that our rate of suicide was higher than most other industries, and young men were particularly at risk” he explained.
“But also what we discovered is that nearly all the people who had suicided had shown signs and about half had actually communicated their intention within 12 months of going ahead with it — but few sought any help.”
So Mates in Construction — funded by state and federal governments — has case management workers and a 24 hour advice line. They also now have a three-tiered training system for construction workers — including a final tier that allows a worker to actively assist someone who is feeling depressed or suicidal at work.
“We have trained 120,000 workers and we have 10,000 volunteers,” says Gullestrup. “We know for a fact many lives have been saved and the industry suicide rates have dropped”
And so what has this taught him about suicide?
“To overcome suicide is to connect with someone, listen to them, and reach out to them. Then it’s about discovering or rediscovering your usefulness, so you feel like you have a purpose and you feel needed.”
A REASON FOR HOPE
Back at Dandenong hospital the day I was completely broke and suicidal, I ended up speaking with a great psychiatric nurse, who gave me a very good counselling session, an antipsychotic and a bed for the night.
While it didn’t solve my problem, it did help me deal with these issues with a clearer head the next day.
And while mental health is clearly not just all about the individual, I did need to get my head together initially to work out how to solve my problem.
I eventually did pain management therapy and my injury healed. After that I volunteered at a community legal centre and through that I got a job. I finished my law degree. I wrote a book. I travelled Asia.
I’m extremely grateful for the help and cherish the fact I have gone to live another seven fulfilling years.
And of course — talking to someone can help too:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Mensline: 1300 78 99 78
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
Mates in Construction: 1300 642 111
Luke Williams is a journalist and author.
California has become the 7th state in America to mandate that Psychologists are trained in Suicide Prevention.
It seems obvious that we need a proportion of doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers that specialise in suicide prevention and are readily available for referral from the community in Australia.
Even when our lives appear fine from the outside, locked within can be a world of quiet suffering, leading some to the decision to end their life. At TED You, JD Schramm asks us to break the silence surrounding suicide and suicide attempts, and to create much-needed resources to help people who reclaim their life after escaping death.
A free early suicide prevention app for young people is now available for download.
Chats for Life aims to give young people skills, strategies and confidence to have an early conversation with someone they might be worried about, helping them to manage the inevitable ups and downs of everyday life.
The app was developed by ConNetica and the University of the Sunshine Coast with funding from the Commission. ConNetica is the brainchild of Professor John Mendoza.
Watch the video to find out more and download the app today.
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