New cross-sector Collaborative has formed in the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla

Posted 21st July 2023 in Sector news

A new cross-sector Collaborative has formed in the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla on the far South Coast of NSW to lower suicide rates within the region.

The Bega Valley Eurobodalla Suicide Prevention Collaborative (the Collaborative) is a coming together of 30+ local organisations, community members and people with lived experience of suicide. Members contribute time, expertise and resources to the common goal of reducing suicides in the region.

The Collaborative represents a local, community-wide effort to move away from a medical model of suicide prevention geared only towards people with mental illness and also to consider the social and situational factors of suicide risk, including financial distress, alcohol or drug use, loneliness, and relationship breakdowns.

The Collaborative believes tackling social issues, offering compassionate support options, and building connected and empowered communities will contribute to suicide prevention.

To guide the Collaborative over time, members started by developing a statement of purpose outlining what members collectively want to achieve and what values and principles they will include about how to treat each other. The Collaborative also drew on the experience and learnings of a sister collaborative, the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative.

The Collaborative in action

The Collaborative has four workstreams – prevention and community, responding to suicidal distress, postvention, data, and evaluation, and research.

Workstreams meet monthly to discuss shared actions they can take to prevent suicide and improve the support available. Members decide what to work on and share the actions to bring about positive change.

The Collaborative is informed by the practical wisdom and expertise of lived experience, evidence and local knowledge to make it easier for people to get help that meets their needs.

Since officially launching in May, the Collaborative has been working on:

  • Easy to share flyers with key contact information about where to go for support
  • Mapping the options available to support their critically important suicide prevention lived experience peer workforce
  • A video resource about post-suicide support services in the region and how to activate our their regional postvention response protocol and
  • Embedding continuous feedback and reflection tools into how they work.

The Collaborative is supported by a backbone team staffed by – South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network (PHN). It is funded through the Commonwealth Targeted Regional Initiatives in Suicide Prevention program.

The backbone team provides essential functions of supporting the Collaborative members, organising meetings, gathering evidence, sharing information and opportunities, and helping to prioritise and align their work to make the best use of time and energy.

The Collaborative meets four times a year to maintain connection and accountability, foster our relationships, hear updates from the workstreams in progress, and discuss key issues affecting suicide prevention in their region.

Through the Collaborative, members support each other to implement local solutions that make a difference in the community.

If you are interested in finding out more, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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