The launch of the Kempsey Community Suicide Prevention Action Plan earlier this month brought together people from all walks of life. The Plan has come to fruition after two years of broad community consultation and collaboration.
The Kempsey Community Suicide Prevention Project was established late last year as part of the Australian Government’s National Suicide Prevention Trial. The Macleay Valley was identified as an area experiencing a higher than average incidence of suicide.
Those involved in developing the Action Plan include community members, social service organisations, health providers, local council staff, the education sector, police, ambulance and those who have been directly affected by suicide.
North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN) is providing the Suicide Project with a total of $380,000 in federal funding to design and implement the Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2019-2020. This includes funds to employ a local Suicide Prevention Project Coordinator.
The lead agency for the Project is the Macleay Valley Workplace Learning Centre, whose principal Mark Morrison is an inspiring community champion.
At the launch Suicide Prevention Project Coordinator Melissa Robinson spoke about her own experience and turning her life around since that time.
NCPHN’s Chief Executive Julie Sturgess thanked Melissa and also Mark Morrison for his dedication and involvement in the successful development of the Action Plan.
Julie said with the Plan’s strategies agreed upon, the next phase was about putting them in place.
“Developing the Plan has been a great demonstration of the community coming together to find the way forward. We know that only community-led approaches can make a difference and reduce the incidence of suicide,” she said.
Mark Morrison said with the Action Plan in place everyone was working towards the same goals.
“Through the generous support of North Coast Primary Health Network, it’s inspirational to witness groups and agencies working together towards preventing suicide.
“I am confident under Melissa’s direction that we will have a lasting impact on the incidence of suicide within our community.”