Article: Illawarra suicide prevention head Alex Hains says we all have a role to play

In these conversations I've been having over and over again, the phrase "that's not how the real-world works" implies that people aren't willing to work together to improve how things are done. It suggests that even a clear rationale for change isn't enough to motivate people to change 'the system' or turn a bold idea into reality.

Well, this is not my experience.

My work with the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative involves working with over 40 local organisations and community groups as well as many people from across the region who have their own personal experiences of suicide and recovery. And, over the past four years, we've seen some extraordinary things achieved.

As a result of people's passionate commitment to work together to achieve real change, we've implemented the most comprehensive suicide prevention effort ever undertaken in Australia.

New programs to support people presenting to emergency departments have been able to support hundreds of people to get through a crisis.

Over 7000 people have signed up to do Question Persuade Refer (QPR) online suicide prevention training. Approximately 6000 Year 9 students have learned how to look after themselves and support those around them.

These efforts have involved schools, councils, hospitals, businesses, media, community services, and hundreds of volunteers, all motivated by the urgency to do whatever we can to reduce suicide deaths.

What these people have collectively achieved so far has required a dogged refusal to accept that 'nothing can be done'.

Read the full article in the Illawarra Mercury.