From: Minister for Veterans’ Affairs subscription list
Sent: Mon 10/09/2012 2:21 PM

LOOKING OUT FOR YOUR MATES CAN SAVE A LIFE

On World Suicide Prevention Day, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, today encouraged the veteran and Defence communities to learn about the warning signs of suicide in an effort to help save lives.

Mr Snowdon said each year around 65,000 Australians sadly attempt to take their own lives. Australia loses around 2,200 through suicide, some of whom are veterans or Defence personnel.

“World Suicide Prevention Day, 10 September, is a timely reminder of the value of talking with mates and connecting people at risk of suicide with professional support.

“By learning more about suicide, recognising the signs and helping to reduce the stigma associated with seeking help, more deaths could be prevented.

“Members of the veteran community can talk to their local VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service to gain a better understanding of suicide or what to do if they think a mate may be at risk,” Mr Snowdon said.

Operation Life workshops are also available to help increase suicide awareness and promote good mental health and resilience across the veteran community.

“Our Navy, Army and Air Force personnel rely on their mates and colleagues in times of crisis, and it is no different where their mental health is concerned,” he said.

“Our men and women in uniform should also remember to take the time to ask their mates if they are OK? And encourage them to seek help if they need it.

The ADF has for some years conducted a range of Suicide Awareness and Prevention and Keep Your Mates Safe programs. In addition, the All Hours Support Line is available for ADF personnel, offering mental health support and a chance to talk privately about issues which maybe affecting them on 1800 628 036.

“Within the veteran community, workshops are available which aim to equip people with the knowledge and tools to talk with family and friends who may be at risk of suicide and to connect them to professional support, such as the counsellors at VVCS,” Mr Snowdon said.

For more information about Operation Life, contact the VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service on 1800 011 046 or visit www.dva.gov.au/vvcs

For more information about World Suicide Prevention Day visit www.wspd.org.au

Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Lidija Ivanovski or Marcus Butler 02 6277 7820 or 0407108 935 / 0417 917 796.
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203