This R U Ok? Day Whyalla residents are being encouraged to start a conversation with family and friends and to go one step further to complete free on-line suicide prevention training to help save lives.
On Thursday, September 12, the event will encourage people to connect with anyone who may be struggling with life's challenges. It reminds us that you don't need to be an expert to reach out to someone - just a good friend and listener.
To take these conversations further Country SA PHN is encouraging South Australians living in rural and remote communities to undertake Question Persuade Refer (QPR) training.
QPR is a free on-line training module to empower individuals to help friends and family through tough times. It's designed to provide everyone with three simple steps to help save a life from suicide.
A Country SA PHNsurvey found that 68 per cent of people living in rural South Australia wanted additional training and upskilling opportunities in suicide prevention.
In the last 16 months more than 1350 country South Australians have accessed QPR as part of the largest scale community capacity building strategy ever seen in country South Australia.
"Regional areas traditionally have higher rates of suicide and that's a statistic we all want to change. But, importantly, we want to provide regional communities with the tools to feel empowered to be a part of that change," Country SA PHNChief Executive Kim Hosking said.
"Not everybody who is experiencing suicidal thoughts has immediate access to mental health services. This is particularly the case for country South Australians, so it makes sense for as many people as possible to be QPR trained to add a protective factor to suicide prevention.
"R U OK? Day is an engaging and effective day of action which is all about inspiring people to start simple conversations which can help to save a life. The community has an opportunity to take that intent one step further, by undertaking QPR training.
Many rural sporting clubs in country South Australia have completed QPR training as a great way to support their team-mates and extend QPR throughout their community.
Whyalla resident and President of the Roopena Basketball Club Grant Colyer says encouraging the club's members to complete QPR training was a great experience for all involved."
"After I completed QPR training I realised what a good tool it was for my fellow committee members and coaches to use so they're aware of the signs. It will also give them confidence that they're able to support anyone who begins showing these signs," he said.
"Coming from a small town where sport is a big part of the culture it's important for those involved with our sporting clubs to be aware of people's mental health as well as their physical health."
For immediate support call Regional Access 24/7 on 1300 032 186 or go to www.saregionalaccess.org.au.