A PROGRAM offering support to people affected by suicide is set to expand throughout northern Victoria.
StandBy – Support after Suicide will almost double its reach as it aligns itself with the boundaries of the Murray Primary Health Network.
A partnership has been established to deliver the expanded program, involving Lifeline Central Victoria and Mallee and Lifeline Albury-Wodonga.
StandBy is already involved in communities from Castlemaine to Mildura, Lifeline CVM chief executive officer Leo Schultz said.
During the next two financial years, the consortium will roll out the initiative across the northern part of Victoria.
“A lot more people will have access to suicide postvention support,” Mr Schultz said.
He said the trauma associated with suicide meant those affected were at a heightened risk of suicide.
“It’s really important they get the help they need,” he said.
The Murray Primary Health network extends from the South Australian and New South Wales borders in the North West to Albury-Wodonga in the North East.
The expanded program will see services delivered further south than they are presently, dipping down to Mansfield and Seymour.
The transition from Bendigo Community Health Services, StandBy’s existing partner organisation, to the new consortium is underway.
StandBy national manager Karen Phillips said the new partnership was prompted by funding from the federal Department of Health under its National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program.
“With the funding we have aligned our regions to the Primary Health Network regions,” she said.
She described the exiting process with Bendigo Community Health Services as “very amicable”.
“We anticipate we’ll still be working very closely with Bendigo Community Health Services,” Mrs Phillips said.
“We don’t anticipate any interruption to service delivery throughout this process.”
The new contract comes into effect on July 1, almost four years after the program was launched in Bendigo.
“There will definitely be more staff,” Mr Schultz said.
The consortium expects to employ team leaders, responders and a coordinator.
“We will be running a series of workshops in the eastern part of the PHN to meet with stakeholders,” Mr Schultz said.
Mrs Phillips described the impact of StandBy as descreasing the risk of further suicide or suicide ideation.
“But also to improve the wellbeing of communities and individuals,” she said.
More than 3000 people died by suicide in 2015, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Click here for more information about StandBy.
If you or someone you know is in need of help call Lifeline on 13 11 14.