MACKAY region: Take a bow!

That’s the encouraging message coming from Grapevine Group as part of this year’s annual Mental Health Week.

“More and more we are seeing people in this community taking it upon themselves to be a part of the solution, to open up and talk about mental health and suicide prevention,” Grapevine president Laurence Manning said.
“There is still a long way to go and a lot of work to be done, but we are seeing some promising signs.”

Mr Manning said by the end of the year, about 5000 people from throughout the region would have taken part in the life-saving safeTALK and ASIST suicide prevention training facilitated by Grapevine trainers, with 22 sessions currently booked.

He said the training, which is delivered in partnership between Grapevine, Run For MI Life and Lifeline, is recommended for people aged 15 and older.

“It equips people with the knowledge and understanding they need to recognise the suicide warning signs, while giving them the confidence to ask if a friend, colleague or loved one is okay; and know what to do – and where to turn – when the answer is no!” Mr Manning said.

“We can deliver these in private sessions for business or community organisations; or we hold several public sessions throughout the year – with the next one being scheduled for 9am, November 24.”

Mr Manning said Grapevine had also had an excellent response to its Help-a-Mate cards, of which more than 39,000 have been distributed this year alone, through a network of 16 businesses and organisations which have signed on as Help-a-Mate Hub card distribution points throughout the region. The cards have also been distributed to every local GP and pharmacy with the help of North Queensland PHN and Selectability.

“In total we have now distributed more than 176,000 of these cards – that’s 176,000 people in our region who now have easy and fast access to professional – and most importantly, local – support and information.”

Help-a-Mate cards are located at:
• Every Mackay GP and pharmacy
• Run For MI Life events
• Autocorner
• Porters Mitre 10
• 9th Lane Grind
• BB Print
• Mt Pleasant Centre
• Caneland Shopping Centre
• Mass Nutrition
• Triple M Mackay and Whitsundays
• Hit FM 100.3 Mackay
• Nine
• South Leagues Club
• YIRS One Stop Youth Shop
• Resource Industry Network
• Barber Jo’s Walkerston
• Mackay Regional Council’s Sarina, Mirani and Dudley Denny City libraries

Mr Manning said while the community, as a whole, was instrumental in the conversation around suicide awareness and prevention becoming louder in the region, there were a number of organisations and initiatives which were working in collaboration with Grapevine to lead the charge.

He said the organisation had been working in partnership with CQUniversity on a research project to gather evidence of the effectiveness of the safeTALK program locally and, once again, Grapevine would be working closely to support the annual Run for MI Life fun runs in Walkerston and Moranbah on October 21.

“Momentum continues to build and with that comes more awareness, more people willing to speak up about suicide and mental health issues, and the aim then, is to reduce the still-alarming suicide rate.

“One person dying of suicide is one too many. We all know that.

“But with more people realizing that they can do something, they can act and make a real difference – that is what will save lives.”

To sign up for safeTALK, locate a Help-a-Mate Hub or to find out more about Run For MI Life, go to www.grapevinegroup.org.au