With Christmas just around the corner, Mackay’s Grapevine Group wants to remind us all to keep an eye on friends, loved ones and colleagues because this time of year can prove to be the most difficult for some.

According to Grapevine president Debbie Knight, Christmas can be especially hard and isolating.

“Some people have strained family relationships; some may not see their kids and others who’ve lost loved ones can feel it acutely.

“So, for some it can be a celebration but for others it can be a time of sadness and isolation.

“It’s definitely the time of year to check in on your mates and we can all take a minute to learn the warning signs of suicide, and know where to direct them to help.

“The Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday communities can do their bit towards suicide prevention by installing the Grapevine’s free app onto their mobile devices and linking those who are struggling to the available resources,” Ms Knight said.

Grapevine’s app and website lists the 16 warning signs to help people learn what to look out for, Mayor Greg Williamson said.

“Council is a proud Grapevine Group Prevention Partner and we’re spreading the word so our local communities can help people by building their suicide awareness and providing the local list of suicide prevention resources and services to those that need support.

“The key message is we can all be suicide alert this Christmas and save lives.

“We want to see those doing it tough to get help as soon as possible,” Mayor Williamson said.

Resource Industry Network general manager Dean Kirkwood said more members of the community should take advantage of the life-saving training available through Grapevine’s free safeTALK suicide prevention training.

“This training is there to help build people’s suicide prevention awareness and anyone over the age of 15 can sign up for the free safetalk suicide prevention training.

“Grapevine trainers can even present on-site.

“This training will not only help people recognise when someone is struggling but it also gives people the skills on how to best support that person,” Mr Kirkwood said.

Demonstrating their commitment as one of Grapevine’s Prevention Partners, Mackay Region Chamber of Commerce president Geoff O’Connor said the group has the Chamber’s full support.

“We can all be suicide alert this Christmas by checking in on friends and colleagues and it’s a great opportunity for businesses to let staff know of Grapevine’s resources.

“It can be tough for some people—it can really be as simple as asking if they’re ok then knowing where to find help.

“We need to make sure that we keep an eye on our inner circle and even extend that to further afield, so we all play a part in suicide prevention this Christmas,” Mr O’Connor said.

The community is encouraged to get involved by sharing the campaign’s social media graphics available on the Grapevine Facebook page which can also be downloaded from Grapevine Group’s website.

Mackay Regional Council, Resource Industry Network, Mackay Region Chamber of Commerce and Queensland Police have united to spread the vital message that our local community should learn the 16 warning signs.

This message will be heard across social media and radio into the New Year.

Grapevine has delivered the Be Suicide Alert this Christmas campaign for 10 years which has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Grapevine’s Prevention Partners.

Free group safeTALK sessions are also available to be delivered at workplaces, sports or community organisations.

For local help or to sign up for safeTALK, download the Grapevine Group app now or go to www.grapevine.org.au