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Locals urged to lend a hand to help save a life

Everymind is pleased to support a campaign urging Novocastrians to dedicate an hour of their time this July to learning how to save a local life.

Twelve well-known local identities have joined the call, encouraging Newcastle locals to take advantage of Question Persuade Refer (QPR), a free, online training program that provides people with the tools to have a conversation around suicide prevention.

The QPR program, open to people over 18 who live or work in Newcastle, equips participants with the knowledge and skills to identify warning signs that someone may be suicidal as well as have the confidence to talk to them and connect them with professional care.

Everymind Director Jaelea Skehan said having local collaboration and support from high-profile ambassadors encouraging people to complete the QPR course is incredibly important.

“Suicide is something that touches every Australian and every community, including ours,” Ms Skehan said.

“On behalf of all the agencies that have worked together locally in suicide prevention I would like to convey how humbled we feel to have the support of these 12 passionate local personalities who have given their voices to this important campaign.

“I want to thank each and every one of these ambassadors who have donated their time, energy and participation to help us spread the word about QPR because every one of us can play in preventing suicide.”

Today a video is being released across social media networks which features:

  • Warren Smith, founder, Surfest
  • Craig Wellings, President, Newcastle Business Club
  • Julie Baird,Director, Newcastle Museum
  • Michael Hagan, Assistant Coach,Australian National Rugby League Team
  • Kirsten Molloy, CEO, Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator
  • Grant Walmsley, singer-songwriter with Screaming Jets and teacher at Atwea College
  • Dr Ben Seckold, Director, Hamilton Doctors
  • Belinda Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Badger Australia
  • Melissa Histon-Browning, founder and CEO, Got Your Back Sista
  • Dave Kelly, Lead Facilitator, Waves of Wellness
  • Dan Cox, Presenter, ABC Newcastle
  • Mike Rabbitt, media personality and community advocate.

Each of these people has donated their time and support to promote the QPR training program as a way of helping to prevent suicide in the Newcastle community.

Former Screaming Jets musician Grant Walmsley said his reason for supporting this campaign is a deeply personal one.

“I have lost too many mates to suicide. Anything we can do to help understand how to assist someone who is having suicidal thoughts is a great step forward. An hour spent can save a local life,” Mr Walmsley said.

Newcastle Museum Director Julie Baird said she felt privileged to be part of a network of ‘helpers’ who could improve awareness around how to achieve suicide prevention locally.

“Many of us are in regular contact with people who are at risk of suicide without knowing it. Anything that we can do to give people the confidence to help prevent suicide is so important,” Ms Baird said.

Assistant coach of the Australian Rugby League Kangaroos, Michael Hagan, said that suicide prevention is an issue for people of all walks of life.

“We need to be having more conversations about the way we can help support people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts,” Mr Hagan said.

“This initiative is such an important part of that conversation and I commend the team at Everymind for championing it in the Newcastle area.”

Everymind Director Jaelea Skehan said it’s not just individuals who can get involved. Local businesses, community groups and sporting clubs can also play a role in supporting QPR and helping to prevent suicide in Newcastle.

“Some organisations in the Hunter are using the QPR training as part of workplace support for employees, providing each person with an hour of work time to complete it which is amazing,” Ms Skehan said.

“We would love to see local sports clubs, community groups and charities get involved in rolling out this training to their members and networks as a resource.

“QPR is free, it takes just one hour and it can help the people at your business, on your team, in your club, in your street or sitting next to you on your couch to learn how to save a local life.

“If there is one thing we could ask all Newcastle people to do this July, it’s to participate in QPR and share #QPRNewy.”

QPR training has been made available as part of LifeSpan Newcastle with additional funding support from the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network.

Interested organisations and businesses can register multiple numbers of participants at no cost.

If you need any assistance, there is support available 24/7. Please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit

About LifeSpan:

LifeSpan Newcastle is part of alliance of agencies working together locally to prevent suicide and include Hunter New England Local Health District, Everymind, Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network, Hunter Primary Care, Calvary Mater Newcastle, Lifeline Hunter and Central Coast, Newcastle City Council, Department of Education, Awabakal and members with lived experience.

Published: 3 July 2019

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