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Suicide Prevention Queensland

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Research shows suicide is the leading cause of death in Queenslanders aged 15 - 44 and Queensland has the second highest rate of suicide in Australia.

While there is no single solution that will prevent it, there are many protective factors that can reduce the risk.

We know that certain life events and factors can make people more vulnerable to suicide and these are times when as individuals, communities and organisations we can take action.

Suicide Prevention Queensland is an initiative of selectability - one of regional Queensland's largest mental health and suicide prevention charities and service providers.

Through Suicide Prevention Queensland we aim to raise funds so that we can target our services to communities and individuals that need it most.

Become a suicide prevention star and help prevent suicide in your community.

With suicide rates across regional Queensland up to three times higher than the national average …  suicide prevention is everyone’s business.

Join the stars regular giving program and let’s work together to raise funds for much needed support and services.

Many stars shining brightly create a much more powerful impact than a single star alone.

Let’s do this together!


Consultation and engagement

Consultation and engagement

  • Prioritise community engagement to understand how best to deliver services to those who need it
  • Leveraging existing services, not duplicating 
  • Consulting with communities to understand the unique challenges they face and working together to develop tailored solutions
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Improving access to vital services

Improving access to vital services

  • Delivering programs and services to reduce loneliness, create connections and a sense of belonging
  • Provide on the ground support for those that need it the most 
  • Establish dedicated facilities that address the urgent need for support in regional and rural parts of Queensland 
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Training and education

Training and education

  • Delivering vital training to strengthen individual and community resilience to respond to those in crisis.
  • Developing accessible resources so people know how to access help for themselves or a loved one
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Read stories from those with lived experience of suicide, and follow along for updates on Suicide Prevention Queensland 

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A healthy body for a healthy mind 15 November 2023 A healthy body for a healthy mind

As stress and anxiety have become symptoms of the fast-paced world we live in it is important to look after our physical and mental health, and often the solution can go hand in hand. Incorporating aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling, for just 30 minutes per day, 3 days a week, has been shown to deliver benefits to your overall mental wellbeing..   General Manager, Suicide Prevention Qld, Sandra Moore (who has an extensive interest and qualifications in nutrition) said exercise could be effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety. “When engaging in aerobic exercise your brain will start a biological event including the release of the body's feel-good chemical called endorphins,” said Sandra. “Endorphins act as a type of neurotransmitter or messenger in your body and attached to your brain’s reward centers. “Endorphins are released during enjoyable activities such as exercise and can help relieve pain, reduce stress, and improve your sense of wellbeing .”   The mental health benefits of aerobic exercise Along with the many physical health benefits of aerobic exercise, mental health can also be improved in a variety of ways: easing symptoms of depression: endorphins released during exercise have been shown to help reduce the symptoms of depression helping with stress and anxiety: as endorphin levels increase, stress and anxiety have been shown to decrease improvement of self-efficacy, distraction, and cognitive dissonance improving self-image: studies have shown endorphins can increase levels of confidence, leading to better self-esteem contributing to weight loss: Releasing endorphins has been shown to regulate appetite improved sleep: helps to fall asleep quickly and improves sleep quality   Aerobic exercise and increased social connection Exercise can be done almost anywhere – including in community and social groups. “Even solitary activities can be done in an organised environment like part of a specific club or community group …  exercise can be a powerful tool for bringing people together and connecting them to their local community,” said Sandra. “This can lead to improved mental health outcomes, stronger relationships with peer support networks, greater resilience, and a sense of belonging.” Supported by state and federal governments, along with NDIS membership options, our BikeShed program is an inclusive space for regional Queenslanders to connect, work on projects, join in group bike rides, get active, and improve their mental wellbeing. Find out more about our BikeShed program and location on our website.   The mental health benefits of aerobic exercise extend past the physical rewards such as weight management, reduced risk of disease, strengthening bones and muscles, and improved ability to do everyday activities. “Studies suggest that this type of exercise creates improvements in mood, and further studies should be done to understand the impact of combining such interventions with traditional mental health treatments,” said Sandra. There are many factors that can contribute to the development of mental health disorders and symptoms. Treatment for mental health conditions varies from person to person and should be determined by a medical health professional. “If you are concerned about your mental health or physical health, please consult a medical health professional as they will provide personalised advice and recommend an appropriate treatment plan,” said Sandra. Before beginning any new exercise program, please consult your doctor to determine if this is suitable for your individual needs.   Help is available If you or someone you care about is in immediate need of support, please contact: Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 Lifeline 13 11 14 Kids Helpline 1800 551 800 Standby - Support After Suicide 0438 648 268

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Suicide Prevention Queensland calls on community to take action, save lives 8 September 2023 Suicide Prevention Queensland calls on community to take action, save lives

This World Suicide Prevention Day (10/9) fundraising organisation, Suicide Prevention Queensland, is calling on the community to take meaningful action to save lives. Two Queenslanders die by suicide each day and it is the leading cause of death for those in the state aged 15 – 44. Suicide Prevention Queensland, program manager, Bryn Hicks said while suicide prevention remained a top priority all year round, having a dedicated day was an opportunity to raise awareness and vital funds for dedicated programs across regional Queensland. “Queensland has the second highest rate of suicide in Australia – every life lost is a tragedy and the impacts are significant and far reaching,” said Bryn. “We need to work together to create a more resilient community where everyone feels supported and connected. “A community-based approach to suicide prevention is the most effective way to reduce rates in regional areas. “Suicide prevention is everyone’s business and the easiest way for regional Queenslanders to make a difference in their local communities is to join our ‘Stars’ regular giving program. “Donations received will help us to work on the ground with communities to identify service gaps and develop programs tailored to the unmet needs of the region.” World Suicide Prevention Day, observed on 10 September each year, is an international awareness day to provide a focus on commitment and action to prevent suicide. If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000. Suicide Prevention Queensland is an initiative of not-for-profit mental wellbeing charity, selectability.

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Suicide Prevention Queensland, QPS and Fresno Espresso Cafe & Wine Bar offering free coffee to the community 7 September 2023 Suicide Prevention Queensland, QPS and Fresno Espresso Cafe & Wine Bar offering free coffee to the community

In the lead-up to World Suicide Prevention Day, Suicide Prevention Queensland and Queensland Police Service (Vulnerable Persons/Mental Health Co-responder unit) are inviting the Townsville community to join them for a FREE coffee and a chat to raise awareness for suicide prevention. The event, designed to reduce stigma and encourage help-seeking behaviour, aims to highlight the significant and long-lasting impacts each suicide has across regional Queensland. Suicide Prevention Queensland program manager, Bryn Hicks, said it was important to acknowledge the contribution that organisations, groups and individuals play in preventing suicide. “With suicide as the leading cause of death for Queenslanders aged 15 – 44, suicide prevention is everyone’s business,” said Bryn. “A community-based approach to suicide prevention is the most effective way to reduce rates in regional areas.  “This involves working with organisation like Queensland Police Service to create a more resilient community where everyone feels supported and connected. “We look forward to seeing Townsville locals at Fresno on Friday.” An initiative of selectability (a registered charity), Suicide Prevention Queensland works on the ground in communities across regional Queensland to identify gaps and develop tailored suicide prevention programs.

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Shining a light on women’s wellbeing: promoting greater insight 5 September 2023 Shining a light on women’s wellbeing: promoting greater insight

Women’s Health Week 2023 is all about supporting women to make informed decisions about their health with information that is easy to understand - central to this is shining a light on the many diverse aspects of their wellbeing. While this incorporates a range of physical health issues, it is equally important to highlight the growing need for recognition of women’s mental health issues, both this week and beyond. selectability general manager, Suicide Prevention Queensland Sandra Moore, says addressing mental health statistics in Australia requires a gendered perspective. “It is important to recognise the unique challenges faced exclusively by women, as they contribute to many of the statistics surrounding mental health conditions,” Sandra said. “There are more than 2.5 million women in Queensland, each sharing experiences and life transitions that are unique to being female and connected to their mental health and wellbeing. “Awareness is important to respond to the unmet need for services tailored to the needs of women.” To help understand this, we must understand the outlying mental health statistics surrounding women, and the factors that contribute to them.   The facts 1 in 2 Australian women currently experiencing mental illness. 49% of women in Queensland are experiencing anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), the highest rate of any state. Almost a fifth of women experience an affective disorder in their lifetime. Meaning one or more of the following: depressive episode, dysthymia and bipolar affective disorder. Females are more likely than males to experience depression and anxiety in their lifetime. More women than men experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress. Females are 12 times more likely to develop an eating disorder in comparison to men. Women in younger age groups are also less likely to seek help, largely due to a lack of awareness about the seriousness of mental health, as well as competing life priorities, and scepticism about the effectiveness of seeking help.   Contributing factors Unique health issues Research shows that many medical conditions either primarily or exclusively impact women. These factors have diverse and unique effects on both the physical and mental health of women. Conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, menopause, pelvic floor disorders, and pregnancy difficulties (loss or physical birth trauma) have reportedly major impacts on mental health conditions. Barriers to seeking help “While women had a higher presence in seeking mental health support in the last year, there are still many barriers that they face, leaving those in crisis at risk during what can be a critical period.” Research shows that in the last year, more women across the nation believe they can manage their mental health issues on their own, as well as an increase of women who believe their issues are not serious enough to seek help for. Environmental factors “Some of the most overwhelming factors that contribute to mental health issues in women are environmental. “Whether this be inequality in the workplace, the gender pay gap, gender discrimination, harmful stereotypes about sexuality, or body image issues plays a large role in overall health impacts.” This also includes the higher likelihood of women experiencing gender-based violence and harassment. The hidden workload One of the themes for Women’s Health Week is ‘making it work’ which in turn involves unpacking the mental load of day-to-day life. Whether it be managing a household, school runs, housework, family matters or friend matters, the ‘hidden workload’ does not discriminate against gender, but it is a load that falls unevenly on women. “This is an often-overlooked factor, as we know that women spend more time doing unpaid care work than men, resulting in a stretched lifestyle and less free time for recreational activities.” Women’s Health Week also serves as a good reminder to the community to break the stigma and highlight the gaps in services, particularly with mental health. “For this week in particular, and in the lead-up to World Suicide Prevention Day, we must shine a light on the diverse barriers regional Queenslanders face when it comes to wellbeing. “It is important to remember that prioritising women’s mental health isn’t just about addressing problems but developing tailored programs that encourage self-care and resilience. “By collectively acknowledging these gaps, we can contribute to a healthier and more equitable approach to wellbeing and suicide prevention,” said Sandra

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A community approach to suicide prevention in rural and remote areas 29 August 2023 A community approach to suicide prevention in rural and remote areas

With suicide rates across regional Queensland up to three times higher than the national average ,understanding how social determinants impact suicide is essential for developing and improving services that can help prevent it. Organisations like Suicide Prevention Queensland are taking a community-based approach, engaging key stakeholders at all levels to understand the risk factors and develop solutions to ensure that suicide prevention is everyone’s business. Suicide Prevention Queensland General Manager Sandra Moore said suicide was not caused by a single factor, but rather by a combination of factors that varied from person to person. “Factors can include a person's age, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, cultural background, and the ways in which they intersect,” said Sandra. “The social, economic, and physical environments in which we live, (known as the social determinants of health and wellbeing), shape suicidal behaviors.” Although there has been progress in understanding suicide and the causes, there is still much to learn.  Suicide can affect anyone, regardless of their age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status. “Some people who die by suicide may have struggled with mental health issues for a long time, while others may make a sudden decision.” A person's exposure to risk factors and the availability of support systems in their community can be considered when trying to understand why someone might take their own life, and what can be done to prevent it. Remoteness as a risk factor for suicide Suicide in Queensland is the leading cause of death for individuals aged 15 – 44 years. Research shows that a large portion of those who died by suicide in 2020-21 had at least one personal barrier that prevented seeking help. Remoteness is a significant risk factor for suicide, with the likelihood of dying by suicide increases the further away a person lives from a major city. Data from 2010-2014 shows that residents of major cities had the lowest rate of suicide deaths per 100,000 people, while residents of very remote areas had the highest rate every year. The reasons for this could be because people in remote and rural areas face more barriers to accessing support for mental health, are more prone to experiencing natural disasters, and maybe reluctant to seek help or support due to perceived stigma and shame Barriers to accessing mental health support: People who live in remote areas can have limited access to mental health services and support networks, and often report large gaps between referrals and receiving care, leaving those in crisis at risk during this critical period. A report by Beyond Blue stated that in 2016-17, 20.5 per cent  of people in regional and very remote areas of Australia waited longer than they felt acceptable to get an appointment with a doctor, compared to 17.8 per cent  in major cities. “Andrew” - a regional community member, expressed his concerns regarding the lack of mental health and suicide prevention resources available in his community, “We live in an isolated town where we have a wide range of mental health concerns …There is not much available that is good, and what is good is booked out for months. "Mental health issues need addressing now - not 3 months down the track." Increased exposure to natural disasters: People who live in remote areas are more likely to be exposed to natural disasters, such as bushfires, floods, and cyclones. These events can be traumatic and can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair. Perceived stigma and shame: People who live in remote areas may be more reluctant to seek help for mental health problems due to perceived stigma and shame. They may worry that others in their community will judge them if they admit to having suicidal thoughts. Suicide Prevention Queensland is continuously consulting and engaging with local stakeholders to ensure the conversations that surround suicide prevention are embedded in communities. It is important to note that remoteness is just one risk factor, and it is not always the only factor that is involved. We understand that suicide prevention is everybody’s business and learning the skills to recognise the signs is a simple and effective way to build resilient communities.   Investing in your community to save lives - the importance of a community approach to suicide prevention Community-based suicide prevention, as adopted by Suicide Prevention Queensland, is a comprehensive approach that engages the entire community. “This approach relies on consultation with community leaders, residents, people with lived experience, services, professionals, and businesses,” said Sandra. “It supports community leaders to get involved at the grassroots level in program design and partnership with existing services and professional support. “Decision making and co-design of the programs with local communities empowers groups and individuals, and ensures the program is tailored to the unique needs and challenges of the region.   Suicide Prevention Queensland knows that no one understands their community better than those who live in it. Working on the ground to understand the unique challenges they face is key to developing plans and actions tailored to each region’s needs. Suicide Prevention Queensland does this through consultation with: residents local allied health professionals service providers community leaders (local members, government etc.) those with lived experience The power of lived experience in community led suicide prevention programs People with lived experience of suicide are defined as those who have attempted suicide or who have lost someone to suicide. They can provide valuable insights into the experience of suicide and can help to raise awareness of the issue. “These people include friends, family members, and healthcare professionals (to name a few), and are in a position to identify people who may be at risk of suicide,” said Sandra. Partnerships between services and people with lived experience are essential for effective suicide prevention programs as they can provide support and resources to people at risk, share their own stories and help to break down the stigma associated with suicide. “Through our approach we can support individuals to make significant connections to their community, learn new skills and build resilience to assist their recovery to mental wellness and contribute to suicide prevention. “ We will work with communities across regional Queensland to develop and deliver services to reduce dependency on clinical support services by providing psychoeducation around mental health concerns to empower individuals to have a greater sense of control over their mental wellbeing”. An initiative of selectability, Suicide Prevention Queensland has strong and enduring relationships with local groups across regional Queensland to deliver tailored support and suicide prevention programs to communities. To learn more about how our suicide prevention programs and our approach to suicide awareness, please visit our website. As a registered charity, we rely on the generosity of partners and donors to support our services. There is a high demand from communities for these services, and many people want to get involved and support the vital work that is being done. The easiest and most effective way to put money into suicide prevention in the community is to sign up for Suicide Prevention Stars regular giving program. This program allocates 90 per cent of funds received straight back into regional communities and provides you with the knowledge that your ongoing donation will make a real difference in helping to fund the organisation's programs and services.   Help is available If you or someone you care about is in immediate need of support, please contact: Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 Lifeline 13 11 14 Kids Helpline 1800 551 800 Standby - Support After Suicide 0438 648 268 You can make a difference Suicide prevention is complex and requires sustained effort from everyone in our community. No matter how small the action you take, when combined with the actions of others, you can make a big difference. It's easy to overlook the significance of individual actions when viewed in isolation, but the cumulative effect of countless individuals working together can't be understated. Many stars shining brightly create a much more powerful impact than a single star alone. Join our Suicide Prevention Stars regular giving program today and help us prevent suicide in regional Queensland.

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Lonely not alone: Loneliness Awareness Week 11 August 2023 Lonely not alone: Loneliness Awareness Week

As Australia’s first Loneliness Awareness Week draws to a close, Suicide Prevention Queensland is encouraging regional Queenslanders to stay connected and reach out for support if they need it. Loneliness has been recognised as a public health priority for many countries around the world with research showing that loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to an individual’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. General Manager of Suicide Prevention Queensland Sandra Moore says it is important to acknowledge the contributions being made to end loneliness. “It’s great to see initiatives like Loneliness Awareness Week that acknowledge the prevalence of loneliness and small actions we can all take to help end it,” said Sandra. ‘We know that loneliness affects 1 in 3 Australians and it’s also a key trigger for suicide. “Reducing loneliness really needs to be a priority for us all - as suicide prevention is everyone’s business.” Early 2023 saw the largest State of the Nation Report on Social Connection, highlighting the critical issue of loneliness which prompted Ending Loneliness Together to launch Australia’s first-ever Loneliness Awareness Week this year. In line with this year's theme; lonely not alone; Loneliness Awareness Week aims to highlight the common misconceptions and stigma that prevents people from talking about loneliness - and in turn seeking the meaningful connections they want and need. “Loneliness affects everyone – friends, partners, parents, children, colleagues and neighbours,” said Sandra. “Suicide Prevention Queensland is raising funds to improve access to vital services and programs, working to identify gaps in services and combating loneliness, which reduces the risk of suicide. Programs like selectability’s BikeSheds and Clubhouses are becoming increasingly important in reducing feelings of loneliness, a key trigger for suicide. In support of Loneliness Awareness Week, here are some things to help overcome loneliness and isolation and what Suicide Prevention Queensland is doing to improve your life:   Social connectedness and physical activity Research shows that Australians who feel lonely are over five times more likely to have poorer wellbeing. Left unaddressed, loneliness can lead to reduced work productivity, chronic disease, mental ill health and suicide. selectability’s BikeSheds serve as an unwavering commitment to communities and individuals across regional Queensland and are specifically designed to combat feelings of loneliness. Located in many regions across our footprint, BikeSheds are community-based facilities that provide a welcoming, safe space for individuals to connect and get more active. The BikeShed’s open-door policy allows any individual to attend free of charge, creating an inclusive environment that is community-focused. The BikeShed’s have always been much more than Bikes, beyond group rides and opportunities to learn about bike repairs, each facility fosters an environment of inclusivity and flexibility where you can sit down for a coffee and a chat. As a result, selectability’s BikeShed program directly enhances quality of life by reducing loneliness, highlighting access to further mental wellbeing services and promoting healthy lifestyles for many regional Queenslanders across our wide footprint. Improving your social connection through member-led recovery When feeling lonely, it can be challenging to connect with others, but it is a necessary step for better mental and physical health. However, Loneliness Awareness Week highlights that loneliness is about how disconnected you feel, rather than how many connections you have. “Promoting socialisation through shared interests and activities is key to creating meaningful connections with others. “On the ground services that promote socialisation and social skills reduce instances of social isolation, which is a major risk factor for suicide.” selectability’s clubhouses are a great example of this, using peer support to create a better quality of life. Its programs are open to adults with a lived experience in mental illness and Clubhouse activities are voluntary, providing members with choice and control over their own mental health journeys. Included in this is a range of activities that promote socialisation and community involvement. This can include other clubhouse members and employees through various sewing, art, health and fitness activities. It can also include community-based social connections - excursions to local facilities such as museums or markets, or recreational activities that encourage movement and socialisation with the general public. The group environment allows individuals to connect with a number of membership packages that provide them with access to activities, resources and wellbeing supports that offer social inclusion and self-development. Beyond our commitment to addressing this unmet need by raising funds to improve access to vital services and programs, Suicide Prevention Queensland recognises that reducing loneliness is a goal we must tackle together. In line with this year’s theme of Loneliness Awareness week we’re encouraging everyone to learn about loneliness and take steps towards building meaningful social connections. “It is time we normalised conversations around loneliness.”

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