In the current climate how we talk about suicide and mental ill-health, and the language we use for these conversations has never been more important.
This week the South Australian Government showed their overwhelming support and commitment to safe language through a group signing of the National Communications Charter (The Charter).
Originally launched in 2018 by the Federal Minister of Health, The Charter is a set of principles that guide how we talk about and respond to issues related to mental health and suicide in every setting.
Both individuals and organisations have been encouraged to sign The Charter, with a total of more than 600 individuals signing The Charter since its launch.
This includes upwards of 153 organisations and more than 28 government agencies including Primary Health Networks (PHNs), councils and departments.
Everymind Acting Program Manager, Sara Bartlett said signing The Charter reflects leadership, best practice and a commitment to working together to promote the mental health and wellbeing of others.
“What we say and how we say it matters and during the current challenging period, this has never been more important,” Ms Bartlett said.
“The Charter is a way to demonstrate a commitment to communication that empowers, includes, values and empower everyone to take action to discuss suicide and mental health or support someone who requires assistance.
“I encourage individuals and organisations to show collective support and accountability by signing The Charter and the recent signing of a significant number of South Australian upper and lower house representatives is incredibly welcome.
“This demonstration of clear bi-partisan support also reflects a recognition of why a unified approach to mental health and suicide prevention is so important.
“I welcome this whole of government approach to supporting safe language and communication by the South Australian Government and would welcome other states to do the same.”
The Premier of South Australia, Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Premier’s Advocate for Suicide Prevention and his staff, Members of the Premier’s Council on Suicide Prevention and Issues Group on Suicide Prevention, along with Senior Members of South Australian Government Agencies have also signed The Charter.
In 2019, the Hon. Steven Marshall MP, Premier of South Australia, joined the Hon. John Dawkins MLC, Premier’s Advocate for Suicide Prevention and signed The Charter.
There are eight principles in The Charter, which have been developed to guide the way organisations, communities and individuals talk about mental health and suicide prevention.
A number of tools have been developed in the form of a series of language guides to support individuals, workplaces and communities to reduce stigma and increase help seeking behaviour.
To find out more about The Charter and become a signatory, visit www.lifeinmind.org.au/supportthecharter