Open Letter: Responding to suicide in our community

Dear Illawarra Shoalhaven residents, families, and community

Re: Responding to suicide in our community

As you may know our communities have been profoundly saddened by a number of suicide deaths. Our heartfelt thoughts and sympathy extend to the bereaved families and friends. Losing someone to suicide is difficult and complex for any family or community.

We are writing this letter to convey a number of important messages across our community:
• Services and agencies across the Illawarra Shoalhaven are committed to promoting and improving the wellbeing and safety of young people, adults, and communities, and continue to do critical work
• The recent impact has been profound for the entire region and has affected multiple schools, many families and young people, places of work, and community groups.
• Each layer of government, local, state, and commonwealth are aware of the impact in our area and we are supporting NSW and national agencies to work in partnership with our local agencies and suicide prevention groups.
• Stakeholders engaged include community services, education sectors, police, health, bereavement services, hospitals, local council, and other critical agencies.
• People are working across agencies and sectors to monitor and reduce risk, promote help seeking, connect people to services, and communicate helpful information.
• Key local and regional providers will be offering opportunities to talk, get training, and improve awareness across the community, and will work to address the accessibility and priority of referrals to services for individuals, children, family, and young people.
• It is important that we all work together as parents/carers, families, and friends to play a pivotal role in building resilience, promoting help seeking, and connecting with each other.

This intensive approach will continue to enhance access to strategies and ongoing supports across the region.

If you are worried about someone in your family or community please reach out to professionals like your GP, local counsellors, grief services, or community services, or call one of the 24/7 numbers listed below. If you have immediate concerns take them to your local hospital or phone 000.

• Lifeline 13 11 14
• Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
• NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511

Information and additional support details can be found on our 'Need help' page. You can download a PDF copy of this Open Letter here.

Yours sincerely,