"Breaking Barriers ~ Saving Territory Lives” The World Suicide Prevention Day Forum makes an impact in the NT.
In the heart of the Northern Territory, a beacon of hope shone brightly on the 29 September 2023, as Sabrina's Reach4Life took the lead in hosting their fifth World Suicide Prevention Day Forum. With a staggering 130 stakeholders from diverse backgrounds in attendance, this event served as a pivotal moment in the fight against suicide and mental health issues.
Under the theme "Breaking Barriers. Saving Territory Lives," the forum not only brought together an array of key players but also showcased innovative projects and initiatives making an impact at the grassroots level.
The success of this initiative is owed to the remarkable collaboration among key stakeholders and representatives across the Northern Territory. The organising committee included passionate voices from Sabrina's Reach4Life, NT PHN, Thirrili, NEAMI National, Wesley Mission, Suicide Prevention Australia, Noone Left Behind, MHTraining, and Villy Australia. This dynamic coalition paved the way for a comprehensive discussion that spanned the depth and breadth of suicide prevention.
One of the forum's outstanding achievements was its ability to connect with representatives from across the country, including Suicide Prevention Australia, Lifeline, 13Yarn and the Black Dog Institute. This extensive network not only enriched the discussions but also facilitated the exchange of knowledge and ideas on a national scale.
The central focus of the event was to highlight projects and initiatives that dare to tread new paths and reach underserved demographics. The Northern Territory faces unique challenges, including engaging men and respecting the Indigenous Knowledge System, both of which were prominent themes throughout the day. The forum aimed to equip attendees with a better understanding of the services available across the NT, innovative approaches to suicide prevention, and actionable ways they could support this vital cause in their communities.
A significant highlight of this year's forum was the inaugural Pitch Competition, an innovative addition to the event. Organisations and individuals were encouraged to present project ideas that promote mental health and well-being among Territorians.
Five exceptional projects were shortlisted and presented their pitches, with a panel of judges ultimately awarding $2,000 to the standout pitch: the "Youth Yarn." This Territory-wide youth podcast aims to amplify the voices of young people and shed light on the issues affecting them.
An additional $500 was allocated to the other shortlisted projects, which included International Student posters, an International student movie night and a Safetalk workshop, Man Walk Darwin expo and social event and a remote women's values-led mentoring program.
Throughout the day, key messages resonated deeply with attendees. The importance of embracing Aboriginal ways in suicide prevention, adopting innovative projects, implementing strategies to engage men, and providing robust support to young people were prominent themes.
Professor David Mitchell, the Chief Psychiatrist of the Northern Territory, delivered a powerful message that encapsulated the spirit of hope. "It's hope that picks up the phone and calls a support line. It's hope that invites you in for coffee. It's hope that reaches out and asks for help. Finding the hope for each individual is paramount," he passionately declared.
In the aftermath of the 2023 World Suicide Prevention Day Forum, it is evident that the Northern Territory is forging ahead with renewed determination to save lives and break down the barriers surrounding mental health. The collaborative efforts of dedicated stakeholders, the innovative projects showcased, and the overarching message of hope have left an indelible mark on this critical cause.
The impact of this forum promises to resonate far beyond its borders, offering inspiration and guidance in the ongoing battle against suicide.