Creating Mentally Healthy Workplaces across NSW

Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety are costing Australian businesses $12 billion each year through staff  absences, reduced work performance and productivity, increased staff turnover rates and associated recruitment and training costs, as well as compensation claims.

With one in six Australian workers experiencing mental illness, workplaces can play an important role in maintaining their workers’ wellbeing.

In partnership with the NSW Government, the Black Dog Institute is providing world-class mental health training for managers and staff in selected areas of NSW at no cost.

If you are a business owner, a manager, or a worker located in Sydney Metro, Newcastle, Central Coast, Blue Mountains or Wollongong areas, you may be eligible to access two workplace mental health training programs delivered by the Black Dog Institute’s experienced mental health clinicians at no cost.

  • Free Mental Health Training for Managers consists of a one-off, three-hour interactive workshop and aims to help people leaders learn how to spot early signs of mental health issues and promote wellbeing within their team; develop the skills to have effective conversations around mental health; understand the resources available to their team, and get the skills to help people recover at work.
  • Free Mental Health Skills Training for Staff is for everyone in the workplace and consists of a one-off two-hour interactive workshop. By attending the training workers will gain skills to have effective conversations about mental health; learn about people’s rights and responsibilities when telling their employer about mental health issues; get access to evidence-based tools, resources and the HeadGear app to help their wellbeing and build a mentally healthier workplace.

 Both programs can be accessed by organising a private workshop for your businesses on-site (minimum of eight people required), or by attending a public session in your area. Those who cannot attend a face-to-face session will have the opportunity to access an online module.

If you are interested in these programs, visit the Black Dog Institute website to read more information and find out if you are eligible.

Any Day is OK to Ask R U OK?

R U OK? Day is our national day of action dedicated to reminding everyone that any day is the day to ask, “Are you ok?”.  It’s about inspiring people to start these conversations every day of the year to support those struggling with life.

Sometimes, we may not feel confident if the person says, “No I’m not OK.”  And that’s OK.  You don’t have to be an expert to show you care.  Use these four steps to help navigate the conversation:

  1. Ask
  2. Listen
  3. Encourage Action
  4. Check In

You can check out the R U OK? Day resources and the Every Day Resources at

Help get your school, workplace and community asking, “Are you ok?”.

Suicide Prevention Central Coast has small grants available to support you to host an
R U OK? Day Community event!

The small grants are being offered to stage RU OK? Day activities or events on or around RU OK? Day – Thursday 12th September 2019.

For more information or to apply, click here (provide link to form) for the R U OK? Day Small Grant Application Form or email for a copy.  Grants close 19th July 2019.

R U OK? Conversation Convoy

The R U OK? Conversation Convoy travels around Australia to inspire everyone and give them the skills, motivation and confidence to start a conversation with anyone they might be worried about.  This year we are lucky to have the Convoy visiting the Central Coast on 10th July 2019.  The time and place is still to be decided so go to the R U OK? Website to get updates.

Important Dates

  • 10th July 2019 – R U OK? Conversation Convoy on the Central Coast
  • 19th July 2019 – Grant Applications close
  • 12th September 2019 – RU OK Day


Taking part can be as simple as learning R U OK?’s four steps so you can have a conversation that could change a life.

  1. Ask R U OK?
  2. Listen
  3. Encourage Action
  4. Check In


Are you interested in being part of the suicide prevention solution on the Central Coast?

Are you passionate about suicide prevention? Would you like to help make a difference on the Central Coast?

If the answer to these questions is yes we’d like you to join our LifeSpan champion team.

Click here to watch a brief video on what LifeSpan is all about.

The role of a LifeSpan champion is to increase knowledge of and participation in LifeSpan  and Suicide Prevention. Champions come from different sectors of the community and are an integral link to their communities, appropriate resources and activities. By becoming a LifeSpan champion you become part of the solution.

What do champions do?

You will link people to resources such as free online training – Question Persuade Refer (QPR) and other resources. You promote various suicide prevention initiatives such as RUOK? Day. You attend events such as World Suicide Prevention Day and others to give out information and talk about what’s happening on the Central Coast in Suicide Prevention.

Who can be a champion?

Anyone can be a champion! You do not need any specific qualifications or titles to be a LifeSpan Champion. You do not need lived experience of suicide to become a champion. All you need is a passion for suicide prevention and a keen drive to make a difference in your local community.

How do I become a LifeSpan champion?

Email LifeSpan at .

Let us know you’d like to be a champion.

We’ll get in contact to talk about your particular interest in suicide prevention and how to become a champion. We provide free online training and support for our champions.

We will keep you updated on what is happening in the local community and provide plenty of opportunities to become involved.

Without our champions LifeSpan’s suicide prevention would not be as effective or be able to reach the people who need us the most. We look forward to hearing from you. Happy championing!

Getting Through Relationship Breakdowns

There is absolutely no doubt that a relationship break down is hard and most of us, at some stage in our life will go through it. . Relationship breakdowns are never easy, no matter how mutual or civilized the break up is. It’s a tough time in anyone’s life and it is important to do things that are healthy and will help you heal and move on in a positive way.

Here are some pointers on how to get past a relationship breakdown so that you can live your best life yet:

  1. Cry as often as you want

Crying is a very healthy, natural way to release grief and pain. You may be afraid to start to cry for fear that you will not be able to stop but you will.


  1. Do something positive everyday

Help yourself heal. It’s good idea to exercise – walk, run, join a gym (you may meet new people), read a book you have wanted to get around to reading, watch some self-help videos, learn to meditate (there are lots of meditation groups around) and never underestimate the power of positive prayer (regardless of if you are spiritual or religious). Pick new activities that you know will be fun and uplifting, ask friends to encourage you or join you!

  1. Seek out help

If you find yourself struggling seek out some support -a trusted friend, a counsellor or your Doctor. You will be surprised how much better you feel by talking things out with someone. Seeking help early can help put things in perspective.

  1. Stand up for you.

If your ex-partner continues to call you or will not leave you alone, be clear in your words and actions-ask them to give you time and space to heal and move on from the relationship. It is important to set clear and concise boundaries when it comes to your ex-partner. If they are harassing or threatening you, call the police for information and advice.

For more information and support-

  1. Keep busy

Make sure you keep yourself busy. Organise to catch up with friends, go to the gym, take a long relaxing walk in your favourite park or sign up for a new class or workshop. Be kind to yourself but keeping busy will help you move on quicker, don’t sit at home and dwell over the break up; you have to free your mind so your heart can heal.

  1. Resist ”rebounding” into a new relationship

Don’t go out looking for a new partner straight away, this usually ends up adding more pain to the break up. A rebound relationship can fill the void in the short term but if you do not process the relationship break up in a healthy way it may negatively impact on the new relationship. Give yourself time to recover from the breakup.

  1. Take your time

Make sure you take a healthy amount of time to get over the breakdown of a relationship. Avoid making big sudden changes like moving states or moving to another town, major changes like that are usually about avoiding feelings. Believe that with a little time, patience and support you will feel better and will find love again.

  1. Research

It is a good idea to research how other people got over a relationship breakdown. There is a lot of material out there. A lot of people don’t just merely survive but go on to thrive. Rest assured that you will find love for yourself and another again.

Some great relationship resources can be found at:

Relationships Australia

Family Relationships Online


MensLine Australia





Launch of QPR for Business

This month LifeSpan launched its QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Training for businesses.

In conjunction with the Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECCPHN) we are now able to offer QPR Training for free for all local businesses to equip their employees with QPR lifesaving skills.

QPR is currently the only online training available in suicide prevention with a firm evidence base. It has been demonstrated to help save lives and to equip people with the confidence and skills to be able to help someone who may be experiencing psychological distress, including where to go to get help.

How will my business be supported by LifeSpan?

Your business will have a LifeSpan business team member contact you to discuss how QPR for business can work for you and your business, what resources are available to support you and to find out what you need to start the QPR journey. We’re here to support you each step of the way.

We have resources to support you and your managers and for your employees. Resources that link people to crisis numbers, support lines and on-line resources and face to face support.

You will also be regularly contacted by your LifeSpan representative and be supported throughout your QPR journey.

A big thank you to our partner, the Hunter New England Central Coast Primary Health Network for being able to assist LifeSpan to make valuable QPR Training available to all businesses who want to train their staff in suicide prevention skills. This is an exciting time for LifeSpan and we are looking forward to building a suicide safe Central Coast.

If your business is interested in training staff in QPR please email us at

We look forward to working with you soon.

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.