Suicide Prevention

13th November 2019

Matters of Interest 

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:41): In recent weeks, as Premier’s Advocate for Suicide Prevention I have had the privilege to participate in a wide range of events. It was an honour to open the 10th Murray Bridge Mental Health and Wellbeing Expo on 18 October. It was great to see Adrian Pederick (the member for Hammond), the Premier’s Council on Suicide Prevention members Tracey Wanganeen and Janet Kuys, and many others from a wide range of organisations from the Murraylands and beyond. Well done to Cathy Smith and the organising team. 

On 22 October, I spoke at the community forum organised by the South Coast Suicide Prevention team at the City of Victor Harbor chambers. Well done to team members Bronwyn Barter, Kirsty Talbot-Male and Sheldon Parmenter. It was excellent to see David Basham (the member for Finniss) and Mayor Moira Jenkins in attendance, as well as Vivienne Maher and Beverley Emerson from the Strathalbyn and Marion networks respectively. 

On 24 October, Peter Treloar (member for Flinders) joined me in meeting members of the Far West Suicide Prevention Network at Ceduna. It was great to also hear of the efforts of the Thrive Suicide Prevention Network based at Streaky Bay. The efforts of Hans von Ohle and Suzie Kenny were particularly appreciated. On 28 October, I was privileged to chair a roundtable event here at Parliament House to inform the Prime Minister’s Suicide Prevention Adviser on initiatives being undertaken across government and the community in South Australia. 

Well done to the Crossroad Connections Adelaide Plains Suicide Prevention Network on a great event on 3 November, featuring the Adelaide Plains Male Voice Choir and guest artists at the Two Wells Community Centre. About 150 people, including Mayor Mark Wasley, were in attendance. As a former singer in the choir and great supporter of networks across the state, I was pleased to say a few words before the musical entertainment commenced. Thanks to Julie Ruiz and the Crossroads team and the APMVC founder, Don Bubner OAM, for all their organisation of the event. 

On 6 November, I was pleased to represent Premier Steven Marshall at the opening of the Global Alliance Conference on Post-Traumatic Stress at Adelaide Oval. The following day, thanks to chief executive, Tony Harrison, and deputy chief executive, Lois Boswell, I attended the Department of Human Services’ ‘Leadership—make it happen’ forum at the Convention Centre. I was delighted to have an on-stage conversation with Executive Director of Youth Justice Services, Michael Homden, a member of the Issues Group on Suicide Prevention. 

It was good to attend the annual MATES in Construction charity lunch at Adelaide Oval on 8 November at the invitation of MATES in Construction SA chairman, Michael Harper, and company secretary, Alan Suridge. It was great to see the MATES in Construction patron and former premier, Dean Brown AO; national CEO, Chris Lockwood; and the founder of MATES in Construction, Mr Jorgen Gullestrup from Queensland, at the event. That evening, I accepted an invitation from Lyn and Barry Whittaker to speak at the Ashbrook residents social committee function in Ashford. 

I think these events and activities are great examples of the support for the suicide prevention efforts across government and across the community that are highly regarded in many other jurisdictions. They are something that I am very proud of. We have a lot of work to do to reduce suicides, but I think the community effort and the willingness of government bodies to take up this work is something that I am very grateful for. 

In conclusion, can I mention that on Remembrance Day earlier this week, white wreaths were laid at many Remembrance Day services. Certainly, I did so, along with the Silent Ripples group at Two Wells, and members of my staff did so at Salisbury and Gawler. I know the Remembrance Day service at Palmer, which I think was the first there, included a white wreath, and there were many other places where white wreaths were laid to honour the memory of service personnel who have taken their own lives.