You are not alone

Suicide is one of the biggest killers across Australia and affects – on average – more people in Latrobe Valley than other regions across Victoria.

A conversation surrounding the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses was the focus of a community workshop held at Lifeline Gippsland’s Morwell centre last week.

Lifeline Gippsland chief executive Claire Davis said the free training session was about raising general awareness of symptoms, services and support.

“It’s part of our commitment to prevent suicide in the local community,” Ms Davis said.

“There are lots and lots of resources out there to help people find the right help.”

Ten community members joined the three-hour workshop to participate in a series of discussions and exercises led by Lifeline Gippsland corporate trainer Marisca Seinen.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures of 2012 showed Latrobe Valley’s estimated suicide index was 1.4, well above the Victorian index of 0.9.

Ms Davis said there was a “high correlation between stress levels and depression”, with about 90 per cent of Australians needing to reduce their stress levels.

She said although there were a number of reasons behind committing suicide, that initial conversation was essential to prevention.

“We’re trying to spread the word to dispel the stigma around mental health and illness,” Ms Davis said.

“It’s around working with the local community – to educate people around what to look for and who they can refer onto.”

If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, there is help available.

Speak with your doctor, visit a headspace centre if you are aged under 25 years or phone Lifeline Gippsland’s crisis support line on 13 11 14.