Did you know 1 in 2 Queenslanders will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives and tragically for 804 Queenslanders, their lives ended in suicide in 2017. Each and every suicide is a tragedy.
Research also indicates Queensland has the second highest rate of suicide in Australia leaving devastated families, friends, colleagues and communities.
Within the Queensland public sector, a group of Darling Downs regional leaders are stepping up to address the stigma around mental health and suicide – and are working towards better outcomes for their local community.
Katie Williams, Deputy Chair of the Regional Managers Coordination Network, says the region has witnessed the instability of mental health within the community and the increased pressures this place on the region’s workforce.
“That’s why we have established the Healthy Minds Network to focus specifically on mental health and suicide prevention in the region,” says Katie.
“The network is based on a model of collaborative governance, information sharing, and mutual interest in delivering improved whole-of-government outcomes in the regional workforce.
“By bringing together staff from across the region, the network is creating a unified culture that promotes and encourages a respectful, de-stigmatising, and supportive approach to the management of mental health and wellbeing.
“Through building skills and knowledge, sharing lessons learned, providing insight into our workforce needs, and collaborating with peers, the network will help guide our journey to better mental health.”
Network members have committed to playing an active role and have pledged to:
- raise awareness within their workplace about initiatives, events, services, and ways to promote mental health and wellbeing
- act as role models by encouraging a culture that respects diversity, values inclusiveness, and reduces stigma and discrimination around mental health and help seeking behaviour
- identify opportunities for cross-agency collaboration, particularly in regional areas e.g. training, events and activities
- refer staff and community contacts to mental health support services as needed.
Research indicates suicide can be prevented if individuals, communities and government and non-government sectors work together and adopt more compassionate approaches to those in distress.
The approach that Darling Downs is taking, recognises that suicide prevention is everyone’s business and that it is only through collaborative and well-coordinated effort that suicide rates can be reduced.
The good news is that there are many simple things that we can all do in our workplaces to help make a positive change, including completing the Everyday conversations for healthy minds program. You can also learn from other agencies and their efforts.
Also, the Queensland Government’s Every life: The Queensland Suicide Prevention Plan 2019–2029 aims to create and support a healthy and inclusive Queensland where everyone can access the support they need, achieve positive mental health and wellbeing and live their lives with meaning and purpose.