Suicide prevention is key

THE Bundaberg region needs more suicide prevention organisations if it is to actively reduce youth suicide rates, a bereavement support volunteer believes.

Peter Richardson's comments came after a report released by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian showed suicide was the number one cause of death for teenagers aged 15-17.

Mr Richardson, facilitator of Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Association, said he had noticed that all the support groups in Bundaberg were for people who had lost a loved one to suicide.

"I would like an organisation that looks at the prevention side of things," he said.

"A lot of the support groups here are for when something has already happened." Mr Richardson stressed other factors were also important in preventing suicide.

"Be on the lookout for masking, where they make a positive change in their lives and you think they are going to be okay," he said.

"Often they will talk about going somewhere."

Mr Richardson, whose son took his own life 24 years ago, said suicidal people often had a tendency to give their prized possessions away.

He said at times the best way to approach someone you are concerned about was to ask them directly if they were considering suicide.

"One of the biggest things you have to do is let them know that you will always be there for them," he said.

"You need to be able to say to them not to ever do anything without talking to you first."

Alex Johnson, a mens and family relationship counsellor for Uniting Care Community Bundaberg, agreed that asking the question directly gave a suicidal person the opportunity to talk.

He also supported people talking about suicide in a more open way.

"The best thing people can do is destigmatise it," he said.

"The biggest problem we face is that people with these thoughts are fearful they are being judged."


Where to get help

Finding the Light counselling services - 41527733

Lifeline - 131114

Beyond Blue - 1300224636

Kids Helpline - 1800551800

Topics:  suicide suicide prevention youth

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