Community Network to Help Address Suicide Fri 28 September 2012 Michelle O'Byrne Minister for Health The Minister for Health, Michelle O'Byrne, today launched the Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Community Network which will work with local communities to help prevent suicide. Ms O'Byrne said the Network will help communities like sporting groups, work places and local government areas to develop action plans for dealing with suicide on the ground. "Preventing deaths from suicide needs involvement and support from all levels of government, business and the community," she said. "We all need to do our part to prevent suicide and that is what this program is all about." Ms O'Byrne said the Network was an initiative of Tasmania's first Suicide Prevention Strategy, which outlined clear priority areas and actions to guide investment in the area for the first time. "Tasmania's Suicide Prevention Strategy emphasises the importance of prevention by encouraging communities to address poor mental health. "This can be done through building the capacity of communities to identify risk, provide support and build resilience among their members. "Communities are not just defined geographically; they can be defined by industry or occupation, by hobby or sporting code. They can be workplaces, schools or friendship groups. "Each of us needs to think about the different communities we are a part of, and if suicide is - or may become - an issue for that community. "We have a collective responsibility to increase our understanding of what leads people to choose to end their own life," Mr O'Byrne said. Tasmania has the second highest rate of suicide per 100,000 people in Australia and while there has been a slight decrease in the moving five year average, there is more work to be done. Ms O'Byrne urged community groups to take advantage of the knowledge and expertise of the new Network and get involved in drawing up their own action plan. The Network is facilitated by Relationships Australia and membership is free and open to anyone with an interest in suicide prevention. Ms O'Byrne congratulated Relationships Australia for its progress in developing the Network and recognised the important work of existing service providers, such as Lifeline, Rural Alive and Well and the OzHelp Foundation, and their role in supporting the development of the Network. For more information on the Network call Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277 or email the Network Project Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need immediate assistance or support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Mental Health Helpline on 1800 332 388.For further information about mental health and suicide, contact the SANE Australia helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263) or www.sane.org.au or www.lifeline.org.au or talk to your local GP, health professional or someone you trust.