'Suicide is a bit like cancer, it doesn't discriminate'

HealthWISE lived experience worker Donna Boughton is passionate about suicide prevention.
HealthWISE lived experience worker Donna Boughton is passionate about suicide prevention.

Still considered a taboo topic for many, a free workshop will remind Moree locals that we all have a role in suicide prevention, and show participants how they can reach out to someone contemplating suicide.

HealthWISE lived experience worker Donna Boughton acknowledges that people can often feel paralysed at the thought of helping someone in a dark place, but says that relationships are a key protective factor.

"Suicide or suicidality is a bit like cancer, it doesn't discriminate. So this is open to anyone," she said.

The Touchpoints workshop will run from 5.30-9.30pm at All Saints Anglican Hall on Monday, November 30. Participants will learn how to confidently recognise and respond to suicide.

"It's a very comfortable space and it's a very confidential space. It's not complicated. It's commonsense tools and information," Donna said.

"The workshop builds up confidence and gives you a language that you can talk to people with and it also gives you connections and a network of other people to feel a little bit more confident with."

Delivered by Roses in the Ocean trained lived experience workers, the workshop will help participants gain an understanding of the complexities of suicide, learn the warning signs or invitations for help and become more confident and capable when engaging with people in crisis.

They will also learn how to connect people at risk with support, the importance of self-care, how to support someone bereaved by suicide and how to help someone re-enter the workplace.

One topic covered will be common myths surrounding suicide, including the belief that asking someone if they are suicidal will heighten their risk.

"It is definitely a myth. I'll ask someone if they're suicidal or if they think about taking their life and I'll usually get one of two reactions. I'll get 'Don't be ridiculous, I'm just talking,' or for a lot of people they'll burst into tears and they'll say 'yes, I am thinking about it.' But the relief to be able to talk about it actually is a way forward for them," Donna explained.

She said the workshop was about connecting with others and learning how to get over the elephant in the room in order to speak directly with someone at risk of suicide.

Participants will receive a workbook on the day and are asked to simply bring a pen and an open mind.

  • To register or learn more, call Donna on 6752 7196 or email donna.boughton@healthwise.org.au or enquiries@rosesintheocean.com.au.