Bendigo welfare groups put spotlight on suicide

Bendigo's welfare agencies and crisis support centres are prompting discussion about suicide.

Hope, recovery, reflection and prevention were the key themes of World Suicide Prevention Day on Monday, but people will be asked to check the welfare of others tomorrow for R U OK? Day. Lifeline Central Victoria and Mallee CEO Leo Schultz said six Australians were lost to suicide every day.

“We aim to work together to get the community talking about suicide, learning about suicide prevention and connecting with each other to save lives,” he said.

“Lifeline in Bendigo has a team of 60 volunteer telephone crisis supporters who give up their time to help people experiencing crisis, including those with thoughts of suicide. 

“We are currently conducting a training course which will see this team supplemented with another 20 volunteers. 

“Lifeline Central Victoria and Mallee answered over 17,000 calls per year.

“Importantly, if you or someone you know is experiencing a personal crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.” 

Mr Schultz said Lifeline was encouraging Australians to take part in R U OK? Day tomorrow.

R U OK?Day is a national day of action dedicated to inspiring all Australians to ask family, friends and colleagues, “Are you OK?” By regularly reaching out to one another and having open and honest conversations, we could all help build a more connected community and reduce our country’s high suicide rate.

“R U OK? Day is an important event in the mental health calendar of our community,” Mr Schultz said.  “It provides us with an opportunity to engage those around us in a conversation that many may find difficult to initiate.

“We encourage people to be ready to listen to the answer, to really listen, to be present and to take both the question and the answer seriously. 

“We know that this form of active listening works. 

“Lifeline wants to assist the community ahead of Thursday by offering resources, so people are prepared if the answer to the question R U OK? is, “no, I’m not.” These resources are at and include a toolkit, ‘Helping someone at risk of suicide’.”


A conversation over a cuppa could change a life.

That’s the aim of a free community morning tea being hosted by Bendigo TAFE tomorrow as part of R U OK? Day. The event will be at the Charleston Road Campus from 10am to 11am with morning tea compliments of Country Cakes and Caterworx. 

St Luke’s Connect Central Youth Services, Bendigo Community Health Services and Bendigo TAFE Student Support Services will attend to encourage everyone to have healthy conversations and to showcase where people can go for help.  Bendigo TAFE youth worker Tamara Kerkvliet said the institute felt the R U OK? Day message was important for the students. 

“Studies show an increased rate of suicide in young people living in rural and regional areas, particularly in young males,” she said.

“This event is a great way to promote wellbeing within the TAFE community by fostering connectedness and ensuring that people are aware of the help available.”