A suicide prevention organisation hopes to build the capacity of people in the Bendigo area to recognise and respond to people at risk, by targeting the workplace.
The Suicide Prevention Awareness Network Central Victoria plans to deliver a half-day program called safeTALK to businesses in the Bendigo area later this year.
SPAN received a $100,000 grant for the project through the state government’s Pick My Project funding initiative, which requires it be delivered within 12 months.
SPAN chairman and project manager Rod Flavell said the organisation believed delivering a suicide prevention program to larger employers within the Bendigo area would derive the most value within the designated time frame.
The safeTALK program involves half-day workshops delivered by accredited trainers that aim to prepare a person to be a ‘suicide-alert helper’.
Mr Flavell said the program would give participants the skills to recognise when someone was struggling, and the ability and confidence to direct them to support.
A 2017 University of Melbourne survey found many people wanted to do more to prevent suicide, but did not know how.
An important part of the SPAN plan, Mr Flavell said, was working with employers to build longer-term suicide prevention initiatives into their workplace.
Mr Flavell said this could see businesses picking up the safeTALK program themselves or training employees under the more advanced Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training program.
Mr Flavell said SPAN would work with organisations to determine where they were at in terms of prevention and support, and what pathways they could take into the future.
“The committee are really keen that there is a sustainability factor around this,” Mr Flavell said.
SPAN vice-president Alannah McGregor said it was also hoped that employees who participated in safeTALK would take what they learnt home to family and friends.
The project will mark the first time SPAN has delivered a program specifically in the workplace.
SPAN has received expressions of interest from contractors to deliver the program and begun contacting organisations to come on board.
Mr Flavell said there was a tentative start date of March, and following evaluation, it was hoped there would be a way to continue delivering the program.
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