It is hard to imagine what goes through the mind of someone who contemplates the extreme choice of taking one’s own life. Unfortunately it is not uncommon in Australia as the average number of deaths rose to 3,027 in 2015*. That’s more than 8 lives per day.

Sadly, the rate of suicide in Western Australia is above the national average; we lose a life almost every day. The impact of this is felt deeply and affects the entire community. The Mental Health Commission is determined to reverse this with its ‘Suicide Prevention 2020’ strategy.

Suicide Prevention 2020 is based on evidence from the latest research and recommendations. It seeks to balance investment in community awareness and stigma reduction, mental health and suicide prevention training and coordinated services for high risk groups. Among the many initiatives is the placement of a Suicide Prevention Coordinator as part of Holyoake’s Community Alcohol & Drug Services team in the Wheatbelt.

Holyoake has appointed Jo Drayton – a highly experienced suicide prevention specialist – to coordinate the Suicide Prevention 2020 strategy in the Wheatbelt. She will work with existing services and organisations to form many collaborative partnerships.

Every suicide is tragic not just for the person, but for the family, friends and broader community as well. The Suicide Prevention 2020 strategy aims for a holistic approach to encourage everyone to play a role in saving lives. Suicide is preventable; together we can save lives.

* Australian Bureau of Statistics, Causes of Death 2015