Lifeline Newcastle & Hunter chief executive officer Gillian Summers described the range of Skills-For-Life Training offered by the charity as “life-changing”.
Lifeline reports that almost eight people die by suicide every day in Australia and more than seven suicides are attempted every hour.
Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia for people aged 15 to 44 and Ms Summers said suicide rates were at a 13-year high.
Community training forms a vital part of Lifeline’s suicide prevention and crisis support services and the charity’s CEO suggested many people could benefit from taking it.
“We are training about 3000 people each year in the Hunter and Central Coast, so we’ve got training happening in our building most of the time,” Ms Summers said.
“The Assist training and the mental health first aid training is life-changing. I’ve taken both of those and they change the way you think about people and interact with people in distress.”
Lifeline training manager Dr June Anderson said they had devised several complementary training courses to help in their quest for suicide prevention.
“We call it Skills-For-Life training because it’s training that keeps on giving,” Dr Anderson said.
“A lot of training is a set of skills to qualify you for a particular job but the training we deliver is really qualifying people for ongoing support of those who might be experiencing a crisis or some difficulty, so that’s why we call it skills for life.
“A typical participant in one of our courses is a front line worker, so people who are supporting others in the work that they do.
“But we also know that the boundary between work and personal life is often quite blurred so some of the difficulties that we might be hearing from our clients we might also be hearing from family members or friends, so the training knows no boundaries.”
Several upcoming courses are on offer in Newcastle in the coming months and all of the profits from Lifeline’s community training goes directly into supporting their crisis services.
“It is pretty low-cost training compared to the marketplace and any profit generated goes straight back in to support all of our other services, a bit the same as our retail outlets,” she said.
“All of those sales prop up all of our services.”
Lifeline training courses for the community include suicide intervention skills training (Assist), accidental counsellor foundations workshops, standard mental health first aid, youth mental health first aid and domestic violence alert workshops.
For more information on training, phone 4940 2000.
Lifeline 13 11 14 lifeline.org.au beyondblue 1300 22 4636 beyondblue.org.au