Today is R U Ok? Day and it’s an important opportunity for each of us to check on the mental health of those we care about, including family, friends and work colleagues. Not just today, but each day.
It is a simple question, but one which can do far more to help someone than you might think.
The Hodgman Liberal Government has a strong commitment to supporting Tasmanians with their mental health.
We have implemented a range of significant initiatives over the past three and a half years including the Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Strategy 2016-2020, the state’s first ever Youth Suicide Prevention Plan and the Suicide Prevention Workforce Development Training Plan 2016-2020.
Our Building Your Future target builds on these plans with a commitment to reduce the state’s suicide rate by 20 per cent by 2022.
Tasmania has the second highest suicide rate in the nation and while this is an ambitious target, I believe it’s achievable.
We are backing this commitment with ongoing funding to important services such as Rural Alive and Well - $1.8 million; and the new Early Intervention and Referral Service - $600,000 per annum.
Earlier this week we also announced the Mental Health Council of Tasmania would receive $740,000 over three years, to develop and implement the Tasmanian Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Communications Charter.
This is an important initiative that will empower the Tasmanian community, through education and training on the importance of good mental health and developing the capacity to have conversations about suicide prevention.
These are all important supports which can have a key role in helping Tasmanians to find and get the help they need, although we know there is still much more to be done.
For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit http://www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp