Mackay Regional Council and Mackay Cutters have safeTALK trained hundreds of their staff and players respectively to help those finding life difficult.

safeTALK is an initiative from locally-founded Grapevine Group which has now collectively suicide prevention trained 5000 people to recognise warning signs and have the knowledge and confidence to have a conversation around suicide risk.

It is a conversation that R U OK? Day promotes—a day that Grapevine strongly supports.

Of the 5000 trained, Mackay Cutters has trained 180.

“We’re incredibly proud to be part of this training,” said Maurie Fatnowna CEO of the Cutters.

“We want to break that stigma so our players and staff know they can talk about their life struggles.”

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said council has over 200 employees who are educated on how to identify someone experiencing thoughts of suicide, how to talk to them correctly and how to link them with professional help.

“safeTalk is a life-saving program which is available to everyone in our community – general public, schools and businesses,” Cr Williamson said.

“The sessions are completely free and by volunteering your time, you could potentially save a loved one, friend or colleague’s life.”

Council also has a staff member who is a Grapevine safeTALK trainer.

“safe TALK training saves lives in our community and we commend the Mackay Regional Council for their involvement and leadership” said Grapevine Group president Laurence Manning.

“Large organisations like the council can reach a high number of people with an in-house safeTALK trainer and it is tremendous to see a large organisation embed suicide prevention skills in their workforce.

“The skills gained by their employees can benefit other community members and very importantly family and friends.

“The training also promotes more discussion and consideration of mental health and with an in-house trainer, safeTALK is often delivered more frequently.”

The safeTALK program is also supported by the Mackay Region Chamber of Commerce, coming on board last year as a Prevention Partner with the Grapevine Group.

Mackay’s Grapevine Group has created a raft of resources that anyone can access.

With council’s and the Mackay Cutters’ support, they have also devised Help-a-Mate Hubs at the Dudley Denny City Library, Sarina and Mirani and BB Print Stadium Mackay.

Help-a-Mate Hubs are distributing Help-a-Mate cards to the community.

These cards contain the life-saving list of Mackay region suicide prevention resources and the list is also online at ‪www.grapevinegroup.org.au‬‬‬‬‬

Free safeTALK is available for public or private groups sessions. The next safeTALK will be held ‪on September 19‬ at Dudley Denny City Library. ‬‬‬‬