Sparing one hour of your time could save a life.

The North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network (NWMPHN) has identified Melton, Brimbank and the Macedon Ranges as having higher than average suicide rates and it’s calling on the community to help it take action.

The network is offering a short online course – QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) – designed to help people recognise if someone they know is at risk of suicide.

The network’s suicide prevention program officer Kiran Nair said suicide awareness is the ability to have a conversation with somebody and to be able to take action if they identify a sign.

“It’s also about having the knowledge to actually identify a sign,” he said.

“Things like R U OK? Day are great initiatives, but they’re only one day. Suicide occurs throughout the year, so it’s a conversation that needs to happen throughout the year.

“The training aims to bust common myths.

“It’s actually safe to ask someone if they’re thinking about suicide if it’s done safely and from there it’s about persuading and linking them to other services to make sure they get help if they are in crisis.”

Mr Nair said picking up on signs that someone is struggling is a pivotal first step.

“You don’t need to be diagnosed with a mental health condition or illness to take your own life and this helps to recognise those signs,” he said.

“Someone might be giving away their possessions, or they might be talking about cherished times that they’ve had out of the blue. The training helps people pick up on these signs, in addition to having the conversation with them.

“It’s a really heavy topic, but we need to break through that barrier and stigma so people can have that conversation.”

Common misconceptions surrounding suicide are also covered in the module.

“One of the biggest myths is that people who talk about killing themselves don’t mean it and that’s a really wrong one. You shouldn’t underestimate,” Mr Nair said.

“The other big myth is that asking someone might put the idea into their head. The evidence is that asking someone actually leads to better results because it opens up the conversation.”

He called on the community to help bring down the suicide rate.

“This training is a short online module, it takes about 60 minutes and it’s completely free.

“Action needs to be taken before more people die in Brimbank, Melton and Macedon Ranges.”

To access the training visit: http://lifespan.qprtraining.com/setup.php

Use the code PBT.

Lifeline: 13 11 14

lifeline.org.au

Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

suicidecallbackservice.org.au