Suicide Prevention Australia has just announced Grapevine Group is the winner of a highly respected national LiFE Award.

It is a special moment for our organisation. Grapevine volunteers have worked for the past 16 years to save lives in the Mackay region.

Only six national Suicide Prevention Australia LiFE Awards are given out annually in recognition of excellence in suicide prevention. Our category is “Communities Matter” and we believe that they certainly do.

It is only through the dedicated efforts of Grapevine’s volunteers, past and present, that this has been achieved. We offer a very heart-felt thanks to our members, committee, safeTALK trainers, Prevention Partners and supporters.

For any grassroots organisation to operate 16 years is an achievement in itself. Anyone that has volunteered for Grapevine knows that a lot of love and hard work have gone into every step. The recognition demonstrates that our strategies are a positive direction for suicide prevention.

When a group of local friends lost a loved one they set about to help our community raise awareness about suicide. Our founders discovered there was no local list of suicide prevention resources. We compiled it, then built a website. Grapevine has now distributed the list on printed Help-a-Mate wallet cards. Plans are underway to develop a phone app and have the resource list available immediately to people seeking help throughout the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday regions.

Grapevine began with one art exhibition to raise funds to train high school teachers and police through ASIST suicide prevention training. To date, Grapevine has trained over 5,600 people in the Mackay region in suicide prevention, distributed over 200,000 Help-a-Mate cards and undertaken a suicide research project in partnership with CQUniversity.

The dedication of so many volunteers and supporters has allowed Grapevine to make a difference. We are looking forward to continuing to provide life-saving training and awareness long into the future.

This World Suicide Prevention Day we think of those lost and look forward to a community safer from suicide. We invite you to join us at 6.30pm tonight at Mackay’s World Suicide Prevention Day event at the WakeHouse Cable Park where we hope to shine a light on suicide prevention by lighting a candle for a loved one lost or those still fighting.

We are honoured to be recognised for this national award and thank the Mackay community for their incredible support and hard work to make this region safer from suicide.

Check out the Grapevine website if you would like to know more about the group, donate or sign up for free safeTALK suicide prevention training.