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Partnership to beat suicide

Lisa from Council, Rosie and Jeremy from ELM smiling at the camera.

Thursday 30 May 2019

Mount Alexander Shire Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the ELM Network outlining their joint commitment to work together to prevent suicide and improve mental health understanding and support within the community.

The partnership includes community and targeted mental health training sessions, in-kind support and venue hire.

The ELM Network – Every Life Matters – is a local suicide prevention and awareness group made up of community members and service providers. Members have been impacted by suicide and are passionate about mental health promotion and suicide prevention.

“We are already doing innovative and proactive things to spread information about mental health amongst the community. This MOU will help to build on that work and we are very grateful for Council’s support,” said Jeremy Forbes, the ELM Network Chair.

“We know that suicide rates in our community are higher than the national average. This partnership will literally save lives,” said Mr Forbes.

“It’s so important to have a whole of community approach when it comes to suicide prevention and mental health. We need to get people talking about mental health and to make sure people know where to turn for help when they need it.

“We’ll soon be getting in touch with all local businesses and organisations to give them a really practical information pack on mental health and suicide prevention. Along with key resources and contacts it will outline ways to support people in need.

“We want to build understanding within the community to help break down the stigma of mental health. The aim is to help people learn about what support is out there and realise that they are not alone,” he said.

The purpose of the MOU is to increase understanding and awareness of suicide and suicide prevention within the shire, increase the capability of the community to look after ourselves and each other; and support people bereaved by suicide.

“We want to bring together local groups, health providers, passionate community members and organisations so everyone is working collaboratively on actions and outcomes to reduce suicide in our region,” he said.

The ELM Network delivers heavily discounted SafeTALK training programs on alertness to those who may be suicidal. It also runs a monthly peer support group for those bereaved by suicide loss.

Mr Forbes said they plan to convene a mental health and suicide prevention forum in September.

Council’s Director of Corporate and Community Services Lisa Knight said the ELM Network is making great strides in opening up conversations about mental health in the community.

“The ELM Network has already made such a positive impact on people’s lives in our shire. It makes absolute sense for Council to support their work and help to get these positive messages out there,” said Ms Knight.

“I recommend that people take a look at Jeremy’s TED Talk – he speaks about his motivations for helping to prevent suicide in our local community and the role that we can all play,” she said.

The TED Talk has been viewed almost 1.4 million times. To find the video visit www.ted.com and search ‘Jeremy Forbes’.

If you are thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis you are not alone. Please phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. Visit the ELM Network webpage at www.facebook.com/theELMnetwork.


Image: Council's Lisa Knight with Rosie Annear and Jeremy Forbes from the ELM Network.


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