The best results tend to come from working together and nothing proves this more than the partnership forged by local suicide prevention and awareness organisations Grapevine Group and Run For MI Life.

Grapevine Group has received a welcome injection of funds, with a donation of $30,000 from RFML.

Grapevine President Laurence Manning said the funds were vital to the delivery of its suicide prevention and awareness programs in the Mackay region.

Mr Manning said the two local charities have worked closely together since 2014 with a common goal of making the Mackay region a safer community, by reducing the suicide rate in the region.

“Since Grapevine was formed by a band of local people in 2004, it has delivered its programs of suicide prevention training to over 4,400 residents and has distributed over 145,000 Help-A-Mate cards which prints a list of contact phone numbers for suicide support and intervention services,” Mr Manning said.

He said that the collaboration between the two local charities, Run for MI Life and Grapevine demonstrated the importance of grass roots community action to address social problems in the community.

“Back when Grapevine was formed, there was very limited health initiatives directed at suicide prevention and it appeared as though it was put in the too hard basket,” he said.

“There was a need for community groups to address the problem, and so Grapevine started to promote the safeTALK suicide prevention training program delivered by Lifeline, and now Grapevine has a team of safeTALK trainers who deliver that training to members of the public, in schools, in workplaces, to sporting and community groups.”

Mr Manning said that the safeTALK program is universally recognised as a safe and effective program for anyone 15 years or older to be taught how to identify suicidal behaviours and what steps they can take to try and save a life from suicide.

“I have received feedback many times from participants who have left that training with their safeTALK certificate and our Help-A-Mate card and they put what they learned into practice.

“The result was that a life was saved, so it really is lifesaving training that everyone should sign up for.”

Mr Manning said the Suicide Prevention Hub which formed in 2018 to identify the best practice programs for suicide prevention has nominated a safeTALK in Schools program as the sole Quality Program in its recommendations.

“There are other training programs out there but what safeTALK achieves is unique; it builds within the community a capacity to look out for and protect each other, to encourage concern for the welfare of family, friends, workmates, teammates, and literally anyone in the community who may be struggling.

Run for MI Life has raised over $150,000 from its annual fun runs at Walkerston, Moranbah, Glenden and is organsing a fun run in Brisbane this year.

Run for MI Life founder Jo Shanks said the organisation was proud of the partnership between the two organisations.

Ms Shanks said the organisation she started in 2014 in the name of her brother Matthew Ivory, who took his own life on October 19, 2012, supported Grapevine because it was evident they were making a difference in the field of suicide prevention.

“I believe in education and awareness and Grapevine Group has given us a strong foundation for that in the Mackay region,” Ms Shanks said.

“I am a great advocate for these programs, and we can see that, together, we are making some positive change – and a real difference.

“This funding helps deliver real solutions.

“We don’t want people thinking there is nothing they can do. This training course is something positive they can do to be empowered and educated – to be able to help someone when they need it.”

In addition to the donation of $30,000 to Grapevine, RFML has also earmarked a further $7500 to educate trainers to deliver safeTALK and ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training).

“There is a need to have those skills in the local community, so we can continue to produce trainers to make the region suicide safe” Ms Shanks said.

Mr Manning said that the cost of delivering Grapevine’s training programs and other initiatives has been met by the local community but he would like to see more government support.

“The government has taken an interest in the activity of community groups such as ours in the last 2 years, but we haven’t seen any government funding yet.

“We hope to see that change but, in the meantime, we continue to rely on the tremendous fundraising efforts of the dedicated team at Run for MI Life and welcome donations from other businesses and organisations.

“We hope the community continues to support our life saving training programs, by signing up for our free safeTALK training programs open to public”.

The next safeTALK training session will be delivered by Grapevine on July 26, 2018 at Souths and anyone interested can sign up here: http://www.grapevinegroup.org.au/bookings/

The RFML movement has grown to three events – in Walkerston, Glenden and Moranbah – and this year we will have runs in Walkerston, Bowen, Moranbah, Airlie Beach, Glenden and Brisbane.

Ms Shanks said to be a part of one of this year’s Mackay Sugar Run For MI LIfe fun runs – as a competitor, sponsor or volunteer – go to www.runformilife.com.au and follow the links for information.
To sign up for safeTALK go to http://www.grapevinegroup.org.au/training.php