Illawarra’s peak business networking body has thrown its support behind the Care To QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer campaign.
The campaign, a joint initiative of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative and the Illawarra Mercury, was launched at the weekend.
The campaign is calling on members of the community to tackle the region’s suicide rate by completing the QPR online suicide prevention training course.
The Illawarra Connection president Graham Lancaster used the annual TIC president’s lunch at Villa D’Oro on Wednesday to encourage those present to consider doing the one-hour QPR course online.
Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative regional manager Dr Alex Hains said the QPR training program was renowned internationally for its effectiveness.
Mr Lancaster said the course would help equip people with the confidence to know how to respond if someone shows the warning signs of suicide.
More than 300 people have already signed up for the 1000 free community licenses to the course on offer.
However Mr Lancaster encouraged business and civic leaders to spend the $10 to register to do the course, allowing the free licenses to remain for community members.
“It is an online training package to increase awareness about how to have a conversation with people who may be considering suicide and where to go from there to help them,” he said.
“Every day eight Australians die by suicide and three quarters of those are men. 35 per cent of those who have committed suicide in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven area between 2006 and 2015 were employed.”
Mr Lancaster said suicide was more common in people of working age. And he encouraged employers in the room to help increase awareness about the QPR initiative that can help people in workplaces help their workmates.
To secure one of the 1000 free QPR licences, current for three years, community members can go to www.suicidepreventioncollaborative.org.au/QPR.
“Please give some serious thought to supporting this,” Mr Lancaster said.
“You will learn things and you will be able to pass on things. You never know how that one action will effect somebody down the track.”
If you’d like to talk to anyone about the issues raised in this article call Lifeline on 13 11 14; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 or MensLine 1300 789 978.