Suicide Prevention

6th June 2018

Matters of Interest 

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:41): I rise to speak briefly about some recent events that I have participated in as the Premier’s Advocate for Suicide Prevention. On 24 May, I was pleased to attend the South-East Suicide Prevention Network of Networks Conference held at the historic Woolshed in Glencoe, which is a property very proudly owned and maintained by the National Trust. 

I was pleased that the member for MacKillop, Mr Nick McBride, was in attendance, as was the Deputy Mayor of Wattle Range Council, Robert Dycer. I was pleased to be asked to make not only the opening remarks but also the closing remarks. It was very tolerant of them to ask a member of parliament to speak at the end of a day when everybody wanted to go home. The networks represented there were from Mount Gambier, Treasuring Life South-East, Naracoorte Lucindale and districts, Wattle Range and Kingston. 

On 29 May, I was pleased to be invited to speak at the 10th Shared Learning in Clinical Practice Symposium at the University of South Australia’s east campus. That symposium was presented by the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group of the University of South Australia, along with the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist and the SA Health Best Practice Spotlight Organisation project of the Central Adelaide Local Health Network. The focus of the event was the ‘connecting with people’ philosophy, placing an emphasis on compassion, empathy and collaboration at the heart of every encounter with a person at risk of suicide. 

Also, on 30 May, I was delighted to speak at the opening of the 4th Sustainable Mental Health, Sustainable Communities rural mental health conference in Port Lincoln. The theme of that conference was the possibilities of the open mind. This conference was hosted by the University of South Australia’s Department of Rural Health based at Whyalla, with assistance from Country SA PHN, Country and Outback Health, the University of Adelaide, the Whyalla Suicide Prevention Network and the Lincoln Alive suicide prevention network. There were two particular streams during the conference, one on suicide prevention in the bush and also the National Disability Insurance Scheme. I was very pleased to have the leave of the council to participate in that event. 

Also, only last Sunday, 3 June, I was privileged to once again join with the Silent Ripples group for its annual memorial ceremony at The Round House in Murray Bridge, always a moving service for families and friends to remember those lost to suicide. The memorial garden is a very fitting place, looking out over the River Murray, where people can remember their loved ones, and there are pavers there to mark the input of the many people who support that project. I acknowledge The Rural City of Murray Bridge for its support in establishing that memorial garden on what was a rather barren, rocky place. 

As well as that service remembering those lost to suicide, it also provided recognition of the very positive achievements of the Silent Ripples group in the Murraylands and beyond. Many activities include their involvement in the annual Ride Against Suicide, which ends at the royal showgrounds during show week, of course Ski for Life, the establishment of a sister Silent Ripples group in the Riverland, and there are a number of other ways they get awareness about the impacts of suicide across the South Australian community.