A Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Forum being held in Castlemaine next week aims to highlight the pathways available to people in crisis.
Local suicide prevention organisations HALT (Hope Assistance Local Tradies) and The ELM Network (Every Life Matters) are joining forces to host the forum, which will bring representatives from a range of local support services together.
The rate of suicide in Mount Alexander Shire remains higher than national averages.
ELM chair Rosie Annear said HALT and ELM aimed to foster better connection and communication between services so people would not slip through the gaps and were able to get the help they needed.
One of the most critical pieces of information is where to begin.
“When it comes to youth it is becoming ingrained that if they are struggling with their mental health the first thing to do is see their GP for assessment and referral. However, for many adults this information just isn’t a given. People don’t know where to start,” Ms Annear said.
“They may be unsure what’s going to happen to them and concerned about the stigma.
“Our aim is to form a clear path of referral so people know what to expect every step of the way – a whole community based approach where everyone is on the same page.”
HALT founder and ELM vice-chair Jeremy Forbes said males represented 75 per cent of Australian suicides.
“That’s why HALT is involved in this forum. Many blokes are scared to ask for help,” he said.
“They are concerned about the stigma. That’s why we visit sporting clubs, men’s sheds, tradies. We want to get the message out there that there is no shame in reaching out for help. The starting point is to chat to your GP.”
The forum will be held from 6-8pm on Wednesday September 11 in the Castlemaine Market Building.
Participants are invited to arrive at 5.30pm for a 6pm start. Registrations are welcomed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 0478 816 558. A light supper will be provided.
Anyone needing immediate assistance should call Lifeline on 13 11 14.