News


OzHelp contributes to State election conversation

OzHelp CEO, Doug Vautier and staff, Wendy French and Nevenka Alempijevic were interviewed by the ABC recently in response to concerns about social issues raised at an election form held in Launceston. Doug, Wendy and Nevenka discussed the impact of suicide in the region and highlighted the importance of people asking for help if they're struggling. Click here to read the full article.

 

 

Congratulations to OzHelp's Wendy French - National LiFE Award Winner

We’re very proud to share the news that Wendy French, Workplace Trainer with OzHelp Tasmania, was awarded the National Community Development LiFE Award for Excellence in Suicide Prevention at the 2017 National Suicide Prevention Conference Award Ceremony in July.

 

Wendy has eight years’ experience in suicide prevention including implementing and, for five years, managing a 24/7 crisis and outreach service for people bereaved by suicide. Subsequently she worked with various communities across Australia which were experiencing a cluster (higher than normal numbers of) or contagion suicides, assisting those communities to develop and implement their own post suicide plans and increasing their capacity to respond to suicide. Wendy has developed and presented suicide prevention and suicide bereavement training programs in various communities and has spoken and presented at various national and international conferences and forums. In 2016 Wendy was the recipient of the Tasmanian LiFE Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual. She also delivers the nationally accredited Standard Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course and is currently undertaking training to deliver the MHFA for the Suicidal Person short course.

 

 

The OzHelp Tasmania Phone App - Providing Support to Youth

With the restructure of TAFE in 2010 the TasTAFE took the opportunity to review its support services resulting in the development of a new State-wide support structure – the Skills for Life Student Support Services - in partnership with the OzHelp Tasmania Foundation. The support service is for all apprentices and students enrolled at TasTAFE irrespective of industry background and includes personal counselling and support, advisory/referral services and skills for life training. Presenting issues include alcohol and other drugs, mental illness, depression, anxiety, finances, relationships and suicide ideation.

 

Last year OzHelp Tasmania successfully supported just over 600 students and provided skills for life training to 945 students.  However the need for information and support does not always occur at a convenient time. In a similar manner, whilst training and support materials are provided, they are not always accessible when needed. To supplement and increase access to support and information when convenient and needed OzHelp Tasmania has developed a phone based application to enable all apprentices and students enrolled at TasTAFE to stay connected to support. Whilst designed with the students in mind, the information and tools provided in the ‘app’ are also useful for staff to assist and support students, or connect them to OzHelp.

 

The ‘app’ is FREE and available in Apple and Android versions. It can be downloaded from the Apple ‘App’ store or ‘Google Play’.

 

App The ‘OzHelp Tasmania Phone App’

 

The ‘OzHelp Tasmania Phone App’ dovetails into information that has been provided within TasTAFE Skills for Life training program and includes pathways to more detailed information and contact details for accessing support.

 

Starting from an OzHelp Tasmania screen icon the application links to the following six tabs and subsequent information:

  1. Who is OzHelp? A short summary of OzHelp Tasmania.
  2. Suicide Risk. A quick reference guide to the Suicide Intervention Tool (SALT) covered in the life skills package and linkages to support numbers.
  3. Helping / Worried about a Mate? Tools to support approaching a mate or friend they are worried about.
  4. Looking After  Yourself? Helpful tools covering key issues such as - budgeting, alcohol, relationships, conflict, workplace bullying, tobacco, depression.  
  5. Useful Links.   Including information on work related issues, drugs and alcohol, mental illness, financial aid, legal aid, relationships. 
  6. OzHelp Tasmania Web Page Link.  More detailed information.

Whilst the TSI and OzHelp Tasmania are looking to do a formal launch in May, the ‘App’ is up and running and is being introduced to students during Skills for Life training. The OzHelp Tasmania team would also welcome any feedback and ideas. If you have any questions or would like any further information please contact any of the OzHelp Tasmania team on 6343 3122, or admin@ozhelptasmania.org.au

 

The OzHelp Tasmania Program

Youth and men still dominate National and State suicide statistics. Combined with workplace cultures where mental health and wellbeing support is poor and men and youth are reluctant to seek help, the risk of suicide is exponential.  This risk is further compounded by the lack of support and referral pathways between workplaces, health professionals and community support agencies. At a State level the suicide rate is 15.1 per 100,000 with males making up 72% (60) of total deaths (83) in 2009 - ABS 2011.     

 

The OzHelp Tasmania model is based on ‘resilient and supported workforces where suicide is not an option’.  It delivers workplace suicide prevention activities to the recognised high risk groups (youth and men) in a rural and remote State that has the second highest rate of suicide of all States and Territories in Australia.

 

To date significant progress has been made within the Tasmania building and construction industry with relevant statistics highlighting short term success (from 40 per 100,000 in 2007, to 8 per 100,000 in 2012). In comparison the Tasmanian rate of suicide for men in 2009 was 23 per 100,000 (ABS 2011).  Critical to this reduction in suicide rates within the building and construction industry has been the funding for training provided under the NSPP.  

 

This progress also includes the building and construction industry (employers) recognising and supporting a shared responsibility partnership. It is regarded as essential that the successful momentum achieved to date is maintained to ensure the development of an industry culture that is resourceful, incorporates enhanced resilience and increases help seeking behaviour to protect against suicide.

 

Concurrently the short term success in building and construction industry has in turn provided the basis on which to ‘encourage’ other industries and workplaces (hospitality, mining and automotive) to proactively undertake suicide prevention activities. This has been significantly more difficult given the current social and economic climate within Tasmania. Whilst specific suicide rates are not available by industry, the male dominance of these industries combined with the recognised robust workplace cultures put them in the high risk category.        

 

With construction (7.6%), hospitality (7.2%), automotive (4.3%) and mining (1.3%) making up 20.4%(1) of employment by industry sector in Tasmania, combined with the multiplier effect of family relationships, the project is estimated to potentially impact on a quarter of the Tasmanian population.       

 

At a minimum the ongoing need is to maintain the reduction in suicides within the Tasmanian building and construction industry and reduce the likelihood of suicides within other Tasmanian industries.

 

On a secondary level the project allows, through economy of effort, suicide prevention, support and life skill activities for approximately 5000 students enrolled at the TasTAFE (TAFE). 

 

(1) Census of Population and Housing 2006 and 2011. Compiled and presented in profile.id by .id, 2011.