Gladstone police on beat in local schools to prevent suicide

BEATING SUICIDE: Acting Sergeant Dave Lemalu has been trained as a suicide intervention counsellor.
BEATING SUICIDE: Acting Sergeant Dave Lemalu has been trained as a suicide intervention counsellor. Tom Huntly

GLADSTONE police officer Dave Lemalu is passionate about helping others.

So much so he's been trained as a counsellor to recognise the signs Gladstone school children might be contemplating suicide.

In August, Acting Sergeant Lemalu, along with 30 others, participated in a two-day Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training course to learn about helping others in need.

The course focuses on "suicide first aid", helping create strategies to help someone who is a threat to their own life.

Act Sgt Lemalu works as a police-in-schools officer at Gladstone State High and Toolooa State High and said the training course had made him more aware of the telltale signs of suicide contemplation.

"There are a lot of obvious signs and a lot of not-so-obvious signs," Act Sgt Lemalu said.

"It's not always people showing signs of depression."

Act Sgt Lemalu said those coming close to taking their lives often appeared more at ease, as they had found what they thought was a solution to their problems.

"Mood swings are a tell-tale sign of someone considering suicide."

Thursday marks World Mental Health Day, which is commemorated as part of Mental Health Week.

If you need someone to talk to, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Gladstone's Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Group on 0413 121 512.