Grapevine Group is calling on more businesses to get involved with their safeTALK training program. Picture: Contributed
Grapevine Group is calling on more businesses to get involved with their safeTALK training program. Picture: Contributed

New year, new chapter for suicide prevention group

IT IS a new year and a new chapter for Mackay’s Grapevine Group.

With the new year comes the suicide prevention organisation’s resolution — to get more sport, business and community outlets educated in mental health awareness.

Grapevine has begun 2020 by offering free private safeTALK training sessions to businesses and organisations to help identify someone at risk of suicide.

Among those who have participated and advocated for the training is coal mining contractor Mastermyne.

Mastermyne fleet manager Steve Koschel said the training had increased their employees’ awareness of when someone may be having suicidal thoughts.

He said the training ensured staff with the company were able to have a positive impact on each other and facilitate a more confident working environment.

“Being committed to look out for our mates means that we are able to have the tough conversation about mental health and suicide,” Mr Koschel said.

“This can be daunting for some, and I saw that the safeTALK program could assist.

“The Grapevine facilitators do a great job in recognising that the safeTALK session may be uncomfortable or confronting for some, and are upfront with encouraging people to participate only in a way they feel comfortable.

“At Mastermyne the session is optional, and we also make sure support people are on hand internally should someone need to debrief.”

Grapevine president Debbie Knight said the group’s commitment for 2020 was to expand their reach to various businesses and groups in the Mackay region and add to the 5500 people they had already trained.

“If I had one Christmas wish for 2019, it was to get as many within our community through safeTALK training in 2020, so more of us are better equipped to recognise and help friends, family and colleagues at risk of suicide,” Ms Knight said.

“For businesses, sporting and community organisations to make safeTALK training a New Year’s resolution would mean essential lifesaving skills for people that may need them.”