Trained volunteers call people in crisis in unique program
A NEW crisis support service in Gladstone is a state-first for community agencies, and could be a key for helping prevent suicide.
UnitingCare Community and Lifeline's Telephone Crisis Support Call Back program was launched in May after the organisation canned its local call centre.
The program involves UnitingCare Community and Lifeline volunteers making contact with Gladstone clients who are suffering a crisis, and calling them regularly.
Clients are usually referred to the program by their GP or community agencies.
But Lifeline has also recently started accepting self-referrals, with 18 Gladstone residents so far applying for help.
Telephone Crisis Support service co-ordinator Judy Hopper said the program was tailored to meet the needs of people living in Gladstone.
"We wanted to address local community issues and offer more localised support," Ms Hopper said.
Ms Hopper said Lifeline volunteers were trained to recognise whether someone was planning to take their own life.
"We have procedures in place to ensure these people are looked after," Ms Hopper said.
The call back program was piloted at the Gladstone centre in August last year.
Gladstone ran a local call centre service from 1991, but the service ended operation in May this year.
Now the new call back program provides the local service, while the national Lifeline number is still available around the clock for Gladstone residents.
Anyone who is experiencing a crisis and needs assistance should call 131114 for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
A day to remember those lost to suicide
ON Tuesday the Gladstone community will remember loved ones lost to suicide.
Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Association Michaelle Luijs said the stigma attached to suicide needed to change.
"People are still afraid to say the word suicide or mental health issues," she said. "It doesn't get treated as an illness, it gets treated as a weakness."
An event will be held outside the council chambers from 10am, part of World Suicide Prevention Day with Lifeline, Uniting Care and the Community Advisory Service.
"It's basically around raising awareness of suicide, that there is help available," Uniting Care's Judy Hopper said.
"All the statistics and all the readings suggest that asking someone directly if they are having thoughts of suicide... takes that pressure off someone that's struggling."
- Gladstone Remembrance Day - part of World Suicide Prevention Day
- Service today, 10am-noon outside council chambers on Goondoon St
- Contact Michaelle Luijs on 0413 121 512