Suicide Prevention

4th July 2018

Matters of Interest 

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:44): I rise to speak about the excellent suicide prevention Network of Networks event held at the Whyalla Golf Club on 28 June. As the Premier’s Advocate for Suicide Prevention, I was pleased to make the opening remarks and speak at the conclusion as well. It was great to see representatives of networks based at Cleve, Kimba, Port Lincoln, Port Augusta, Lower Eyre Peninsula and Whyalla, in addition to many other related organisations. 

The theme of the day was largely about rural men, but there were some other inspiring aspects throughout the day. The welcome came from Lynne O’Sullivan, well known for her work in the leadership of the Suicide Prevention Unit in the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist over a number of years. The event was hosted by Janice Eygenraam and Lee Martinez of the Whyalla Suicide Prevention Network. The keynote speaker was Sarah Powell, formerly a Darke Peake resident who now lives at Wharminda. She has formed a body called Champions Academy, which specialises in revitalising rural communities through sporting leadership. 

It was an inspiring presentation, particularly about the strength of communities in relation to their sporting organisations. She relayed the history of country football on Eastern Eyre Peninsula, and relating to netball as well. Where in earlier days there were 31 football clubs in that region in a number of different leagues, there are now only four football clubs remaining in the Eastern Eyre Football League. The basis of the presentation was about how this program had been rolled out through the Ports Football Club, which encompasses Port Neill and Arno Bay and associated areas. Through those clubs, the leadership development demonstrated throughout that region is excellent, and I am pleased to hear that that program is being rolled out across Eyre Peninsula, and will be throughout other parts of the state in the near future. 

The emphasis on rural men commenced with some particular voices of lived experience with suicide. One that I was particularly interested in was a presentation from Jeremy Edwards about a group called INATT, which means ‘I’m not afraid to talk’. This group is in its early stages. It is one of those great organisations in suicide prevention and mental health that runs off the smell of an oily rag and is totally supported by volunteers, and it is one I wish to do more work with in the near future. We also heard a presentation about the strength of the Whyalla Men’s Shed and other similar men’s sheds across Eyre Peninsula. 

Some light relief—for what to some is a sombre subject but, of course, it is a subject that the attendees are passionate about, but the light relief came in the form of some excellent stand-up comedy by people from the Whyalla region who suffer from mental health issues, and they have a group that gets together to perform stand-up comedy, largely based around their mental health issues. 

Finally, I would like to commend the Whyalla Suicide Prevention Network for hosting the event and also for the distribution of the excellent booklet that they put out which is really helpful for people who are dealing with people at risk of suicide or self-harm.