R U OK? Day – Central Coast Friday 14th September 2018

LifeSpan was proud to award 11 grants to local community organisations who were hosting an R U OK? Day event on the Central Coast.

We had a great response with 23 grant applications received (wow!).

It was encouraging to see so many Central Coast groups spreading the word about the importance of meaningful conversations and connections to prevent suicide.

R U OK? Day aims to inspire and empower people to reach out to those around them and support anyone who may be struggling.

 The goals of R U OK? Day include:

  • Boosting our confidence to meaningfully connect and ask about life’s ups and downs;
  • Nurturing our sense of responsibility to regularly connect and support others; and
  • Strengthening our sense of belonging because we know people are there for us.

The successful applicants were chosen for meeting these key goals in creative, innovative and collaborative ways.

 We are pleased to have received some fantastic feedback from our grant recipients about their various events.

The Central Coast Local Health District Nursing and Midwifery team used their R U OK? Day grant to highlight, via social media, the importance of checking in regularly with friends, family and colleagues. They created a YouTube and Facebook video for staff and the wider community to raise awareness about the simple steps it takes to save a life – asking “are you okay?” and then listening, checking-in and encouraging action. Well done to the Nursing and Midwifery team for putting together a powerful and inspirational video that spreads such an important message.

The Wyong Toastmasters group had 45 people attend their R U OK? Day luncheon at Wyong RSL Club, with R U OK? Day Central Coast ambassador Chris Newman, as a special guest speaker. Chris spoke to the group about how to make a difference through conversation, with lots of positive feedback from attendees!

The San Remo Neighbourhood Centre held an R U OK? Day art exhibition. The exhibition featured art works from the local Indigenous community. The art works represented connection and communication. The R U OK? Day core messages of supporting others, strengthening sense of belonging and being strong and dynamic were displayed throughout the exhibition. There are some great photos on the San Remo Neighbourhood Centre Facebook page if you would like to take a look.

These are just some examples of the successful local events.

A huge thank you to all those who applied for an R U OK? Day community grant. We were overwhelmed by the level of enthusiasm and involvement from the community.

Well done to all those organisations who held an R U OK? Day event to raise awareness about suicide prevention. The grants will be running again next year and we encourage everyone to apply!

Central Coast Suicide Prevention Website Launch

The new Suicide Prevention Central Coast website was launched at the Gosford Entertainment Grounds on 9 August 2018 with great interest from the local community.

We were thrilled to have Rob Sams, General Manager of Services for Lifeline as MC for the event and to give an Acknowledgement of Lived Experience.

Steve Ella, Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) Manager for Aboriginal Health, gave an Acknowledgement of Country and said suicide prevention was an important issue for the local Aboriginal community.

Anthony Critchley, Director of Mental Health, spoke on behalf of CCLHD Chief Executive, Dr Andrew Montague. Mr Critchley highlighted how Lifespan would make a significant impact on the Central Coast community and its potential positive effects on mental health care across the Central Coast.

Dr Fiona Shand, Senior Research Fellow at The Black Dog Institute, explained the LifeSpan model and how it is implemented in different areas of the health system and community. Dr Shand was interviewed by NBN News. Mr Sams thanked Dr Shand for being so gracious with her time and  for being a fantastic spokesperson for local media.

Liz Hammond, Coordinator, LifeSpan gave a great presentation on Youth Aware Mental Health (YAM) and explained the positive work that is happening in Central Coast schools with young people in year nine. More information about YAM can be found here.

Our lived experience representative, Peter Bagnall shared his story about how suicide has personally touched his life. Peter is a very inspirational man, and his story is a powerful one. Peter was personally struggling after a relationship breakdown, financial stress and the loss of his job about six years ago. Peter’s mission in life is now about helping others, in particular men, by encouraging them to talk about their problems.

Katie Sewell, our Suicide Prevention Central Coast Alliance Chair gave participants a tour of the new Suicide Prevention Central Coast website.

Chris Newman, the R U OK? Day Central Coast Ambassador spoke to our guests about the events in his life that led him becoming involved with R U OK? Day. He announced the R U OK? Day grant recipient winners with each winner given a grant to host an R U OK? Day event on the Central Coast. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog about R U OK? Day and our grant recipients.

Thank you to all those who have contributed to the new Suicide Prevention Central Coast website and to everyone who helped make the event a success.

We hope our guests were encouraged by the work on the Central Coast in regards to suicide prevention and that everyone left feeling inspired to become part of the local suicide prevention community.