Melissa Merrett, Whittlesea Leader
THE Whittlesea community is set to be on the frontline in the fight to reduce local suicide rates.
Support trials will be rolled through sports clubs, schools and networks in six regions across the state, including Whittlesea, that have high suicide rates and vulnerable communities.
The Health and Human Services Department will run the programs to educate people about suicide and how to identify those at risk earlier.
Victorian Mental Health Minister Martin Foley visited Whittlesea township last week to outline the State Government’s Suicide Prevention Framework, which is backed by a $27 million investment over four years for suicide prevention measures across the state.
“In 2014 alone, we lost 646 Victorians to suicide – that’s twice as many lives as our road toll,” Mr Foley said.
He said the Whittlesea community would be involved in creating and implementing strategies such as workforce training, school-based support and mental health literacy programs.
Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network chief executive Robin Whyte said the plan would create wide ranging strategies that will help save lives.
“Whittlesea has been selected as a pilot site, acknowledging both high need in this area and the large CALD and Aboriginal communities which are a priority for us and the Victorian Government,” he said.
If you or someone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.