The coronavirus pandemic has adversely impacted the mental wellbeing of many Australians and this could lead to dire consequences if left neglected.
This has prompted the University of Sunshine Coast (USC) to open a second round of online suicide awareness training, after its first edition booked out more than a week after launch due to high community demand.
USC, which heads The Alliance for Suicide Prevention – Sunshine Coast, is opening the LivingWorks Start program for a further 300 participants beginning 26 June.
The free online suicide alertness training, delivered through the University’s Thompson Institute, is open to adults and lasts one and a half hours at a time that is most convenient for them.
Elise Jione, Thompson Institute Operations Manager, said a likely rise in suicide cases and mental illness resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, as forecasted by the Australian Medical Association, underscored the need for this training.
“As we transition out of the pandemic response and consider the new struggles individuals are facing, there is an urgent need to prioritise mental health and suicide prevention,” she said.
“Members of the community can play a major role in suicide prevention by recognising the signs that a person might be at risk of suicide and being able to connect that person to help.”
The free online workshops are designed to teach participants how to identify signs of known precursors to suicide, ascertain the risks of suicide and save lives by connecting them to professional help.
“We know that 60% of people on the Sunshine Coast believe that negative stigma surrounding mental illness prevents people from asking for help,” Jione said.
“It’s therefore vital that we – as friends, family, colleagues, leaders and teammates – can recognise that someone close to us is struggling and start a conversation that could save a life.”
Trainees can also choose to participate in USC’s research into the long-term effectiveness of community suicide alertness training.
Interested individuals can register for the free online training sessions via The Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s official website.