Sat, 15 August

Reach out and help somebody

Members of the Gawler Suicide Prevention Community Group are encouraging locals to take care of their mental health and each other during the coronavirus pandemic. PHOTOS: Sara Gilligan

NOW more than ever people are reaching out to the Gawler Suicide Prevention Community Group during the current COVID-19 crisis.

With social distancing measures in place, the local network has seen a spike in contact and recognises a heightened risk of the “preventable death”.

A spokesperson for the group, Karen McColl, urged locals to stay socially and emotionally connected during this time, supporting one another by whatever means possible.

“At a time where we are required to be physically distant from one another, that doesn’t mean being disconnected,” she said.

“Our mental health is as much a part of us as our physical health and when going through something like this, it is difficult for it not to have an impact of some sort. We need to be alert to that.

“There may be above normal stresses associated with things like our housing and work arrangements, education and with aged friends and parents.”

Ms McColl recognised the importance of technology during isolation.

“We need to build connectedness, and create communities of caring. With the current means of technology, we can continue to see each other’s faces and hear each other’s voices which is so important,” she said.

“We can maintain physical connectedness whilst being physically distant.

“Remember we can all reach out and check in on someone, sometimes a conversation with a trusted friend who listens, offers support and checks in with us from time to time can be of great assistance.”

Network member Stan Roulston encouraged locals to “do the ring around” and check on your friends, family and neighbours.

“Try and stick to a routine by phoning someone you would regularly meet,” he said.

Gawler councillor Cody Davies said self-isolation still allowed people to venture outside.

“You’d be surprised the difference a bit of sunshine can make,” he said.

“It’s also important to switch off, which can be done by using meditation apps.”

Ms McColl said anyone interested in joining the local suicide prevention network would be welcomed.

“During these times we could certainly use the help,” she said.

“Our service saves lives and you could be a part of that.

“Meanwhile, please reach out for help if you need it.

“Let’s not forget the importance in caring for ourselves and in caring for each other.”

If you or someone you know is struggling, advice and support can be accessed by emailing the  Gawler Suicide Prevention Community Group on (gspginc@gmail.com) or by calling:

Lifeline: 13 11 14, beyondblue: 1300 22 4636, Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or the Suicide call Back Service: 1300 659 467.

Community grants open

APPLICATIONS are now open for the 2020/21 South Australian Suicide Prevention Community Grants Scheme (SASPCGS).

Community groups and non-government organisations may apply for grants between $500 and $10,000 for local projects or activities that support suicide prevention in SA.

Grant applications are open until 5pm on Friday, April 24 and submission is by using the online application form (https://ocpsahealth.grantplatform.com).

Successful 2020-21 recipients will be announced in June 2020 by SA Health.

For more information, visit (www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/suicidepreventiongrants).

Sara Gilligan

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Sara Gilligan completed a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Writing and Creative Communication at the University of South Australia in 2014. Sara grew up in the Adelaide Hills before moving to Waikerie in 2015 to pursue her journalism career at The Bunyip’s sister paper The River News. She transitioned to Renmark’s Murray Pioneer newspaper in 2017, where she enjoyed Riverland reporting, before becoming The Bunyip’s editor in November 2019. She enjoys covering local government and police/emergency services and is passionate about giving locals a voice on community issues.

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