Each year, World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is observed on 10th September and provides an opportunity to raise awareness of suicide prevention. The theme this year is "Working Together to Prevent Suicide." To mark this important event, SabrinasReach4Life (SR4L) with the support of NT Health, has led the establishment of the Darwin Regional WSPD Planning Committee. One of the main events being held is a breakfast seminar with the objective of increasing public understanding of current initiatives in suicide prevention, hearing from people with lived experience, first responders and service providers. Key speaker is Ms Bronwen Edwards, CEO Roses in the Ocean, based in Queensland, amongst others.
The event includes a Q & A session with local service providers, non- government organisations and groups dedicated to raise awareness of suicide and contribute to a discussion about what some of the challenges are and what some of the solutions might be to help reduce suicide in our community.
Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia among people aged 15–44. A total of 3,128 people took their own lives in 2017(ABS), and over 65000 attempt suicide per annum, which translates to more than 180 every day. For each death, about 135 people are impacted and are themselves eight times at higher risk of suicide, which equates to nearly half a million people each year.
Active collaboration and partnership between government, the private sector and the community, particularly Territorians with personal experience of mental health concerns, suicidality and suicide bereavement is vitally important if we are to meaningfully bring about change in the Northern Territory.
The seminar will be an opportunity to generate safe and open public discussion about suicide prevention. As a community leader we seek your participation to help lead the conversation. The Darwin Regional WSPD Committee is also planning a series of events between the 4 to 15 September. A calendar will be available on the NT Mental Health Coalition website.
Bronwen Edwards - CEO Roses in the Ocean; Chair - International Association Suicide Prevention- Special Interest Group Lived Experience, QLD Suicide Prevention Health Taskforce
Professor Gary Robinson – Director Centre for Child Development and Education, Menzies School of Health Research and leads the Indigenous Parenting and Family Research and the Suicide Prevention Research themes in the Centre for Child Development and Education.
He has led the evaluation of health, mental health and educational initiatives in the Northern Territory, including the Tiwi Coordinated Care Trial (1997-2004) and the National Accelerated Literacy Program (2004-2009). He has conducted long term ethnographic field research into Aboriginal adolescence, family relationships, parenting, suicide and self harm.
He has been responsible for the development and evaluation of school-based early intervention and prevention programs for Indigenous children and parents in urban and remote communities, with the program 'Ngaripirliga’ajirri' in partnership with the Tiwi Health Board and others, (2000-2004) and the Let’s Start Parent-Child Program (2005-2013).
In 2012, he led consultations to develop a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, and is currently chief investigator of a study of outcomes of admissions for deliberate self-harm in Northern Territory hospitals.
Jane Nungarrayi Blunden - Critical Response Support Advocate NT, Thirrili Ltd, Thirrili Ltd is a not for profit organisation which aims to contribute to the broader social wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Jane is a Warlpiri woman from the Tanami Desert and is also known by her skin name Nungarrayi. She was born in Wyndham WA, and was on Gordon Downs Station in the Kimberley
Jane has a nursing background and a passion in Mental Health and suicide prevention and post vention. Over the past 20 years she has worked extensively in different industries and with people of different age groups that has allowed her to gain knowledge of suicide and its impacts on individuals, families and communities.
Jane also carries her passion of art through her work in this field developing a Social Care System that she uses to help her people
Ms Vanessa Lowe - Public Officer Come Talk With Me NT Incorporated, organisers of Come Walk With Me NT Event each World Suicide Prevention Day. A lived experience, losing my 16 year old son to suicide in 2014. Began Come Walk With Me NT in 2015. Became a Not for Profit Organisation Come Talk With Me NT Incorporated. A mother of four, nanna to eight. Special Education Teacher. True Territorian. Passionate about working towards Suicide Prevention and best practices in the mental health area.
Jade Gooding - Clinical Psychologist and the Executive Manager Mental Health at Anglicare NT; with responsibility for headspace Darwin and Katherine. Jade is a Senator on the NT Clinical Senate and has a passion for mental health promotion and early intervention. With experience in public health and non-government services, Jade brings a wealth of clinical, community and management experience to the panel discussion.
Jana Harmer - Lived experience member. Local 4th generation Darwin woman, mother of seven, stepmother to four and a young grandmother. Descendant of the Stolen Generation with ties to the Gurindji and Woolwonga people of the NT, also of Filipino, Spanish, Chinses, Arab and English heritage. Aboriginal Health Practitioner by profession and an everyday life promotion advocate in the community. Currently acting as the Thirrili StandBy Coordinator, providing support after suicide.
Andrew Everingham - Regional Manager Northern
Have worked extensively in Ambulance Operations in both Central Australia and the Top End over past 8 years. Held multiple roles within Ambulance Services from on-road Paramedic, Single Responder, Duty Manager, Regional Manager Southern and most recently Northern.
Mark Spain AFSM - Chief Fire Officer NT Fire and Rescue Service Walking off the War Within (WOTWW)
Mark has been a career firefighter for over 30 years serving in NTFRS, ACT Fire Brigade and Country Fire Authority, Victoria. Before taking up the position as Chief Fire Officer in 2016. Mark served across a number of commands within the service including regional posting and has seen firsthand the effects of attending serious incidents. The impact of suicide within the workplace, the direct effect on families and the broader community, decided while in the position of Chief Fire Officer and after the loss of a former firefighter Nathan Shanahan to suicide, working with the family we came up with the 20klm, 20kg pack walk challenge. This challenge in not just for frontline and ADF personnel it is for the whole of community to participate so they can create conversation along the journey as Nathan did when he walked 400 kilometres
Michele Oliphant – NT Manager headspace Schools
Michele Oliphant has worked in the NT for over 20 years; in the youth work and education sectors in both government and non-government organisations. The majority of her work has focused on building whole school/community wellbeing and particularly social and emotional competence, student empowerment, suicide prevention, community engagement and wellbeing in schools. Since joining the headspace Schools team as the NT Manager, Michele is able to utilise her experiences to provide support to all schools in mental health promotion, prevention, early intervention and postvention.
Matthew Hull -Mates in Construction NT
Representing the whole of NT in bringing awareness and skills training to the Construction, Mining and Energy industries within our community. My role is rewarding as I am able to be a part of a community that wants to change.