Naracoorte mental health round table puts suicide in the spotlight

SUICIDE impacts all communities and its effects can last for a long time.

A mental health round table has been set up in Naracoorte to tackle the issue of mental health in the district.

Naracoorte Lucindale mayor Erika Vickery is part of the round table, representing the council and the community.

While suicide has been a background issue in rural areas for many years, the recent death of well-known local Matthew "Rowdy" Bartlett has put it firmly in the spotlight.

"In light of Rowdy's suicide it came to our attention the community perhaps needed an action plan," Mrs Vickery told the Herald.

"To assist when a tragedy like that occurs."

The round table has been meeting once a month since October and comprises Mrs Vickery, Lifeline's SE SA chief executive officer Eve Barrett, and representatives of Country Health SA's mental health service, SAPOL and other community services.

One of the projects they are currently working on is a pamphlet on how to access mental health support.

Recently Ms Barrett was in the media talking about suicide prevention action plans for various councils - of which Mount Gambier already has one.

She, along with Mrs Vickery, State Government suicide prevention principal project officer Lynne James, consulting psychiatrist Dr Warwick Black from the Rural and Remote Mental Health Network and Country Health SA Mental Health Services and local GP Brian Norcock, are planning a community forum for August 12 - facilitated by Ms James.

"It will be a starting point for working out an action plan for Naracoorte and surrounds," Mrs Vickery said.

From this forum it is planned to have subsequent meetings about the issue.

Suicide prevention will be the topic of a community forum in August.

Suicide prevention will be the topic of a community forum in August.

Another pamphlet is also planned, aimed to be a Naracoorte-specific version of a similar brochure Mount Gambier put out detailing information about suicide, myths and facts, warning signs, risk factors, how to help and a contact list.

More information will be released closer to the date of the August community forum.

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