Gladstone Port Curtis Rotary Club director of special projects John Whitten says there are big things happening this year in the club’s initiative for tackling the issue of suicide, Project We Care.
Gladstone Port Curtis Rotary Club director of special projects John Whitten says there are big things happening this year in the club’s initiative for tackling the issue of suicide, Project We Care. Tegan Annett

Project gives the community skills to help prevent suicide

LAST year 50 Gladstone residents received training that provided the knowledge needed on effective ways to speak and intervene with someone who may be contemplating suicide.

Project We Care is an initiative by the Gladstone Port Curtis Rotary Club which started last year.

Director of special projects John Whitten said since 2011 the not-for-profit organisation had planned the training program.

"We've got more people wanting to be trained than spots that are available, which is great," he said.

"But we have to prioritise who will benefit most."

He said in 10 years they hope to have trained up to 500 people.

The idea originally sprouted from a belief that not enough was being done in regards to mental health.

This year, Project We Care counsellors and trainers will offer a protective behaviour program to students from prep - Year 4 and a cyber-bullying program designed for students in Years 5-7.

"We are also currently proposing free community suicide talks to get the awareness out there," Mr Whitten said.

The training is designed around an American firm, Livingworks, who believe everyone can help create a suicide safer community.

Mr Whitten explained from their understanding, there are three types of people.

"There are bullies, victims and the person seeing the bullying," he said. "We want to focus on the people who see the bullying."

Mr Whitten also said he would like to see a shift in the use of the term king hit.

"It should be changed to coward hit," he said. "It's just become an epidemic."

Gladstone's program is run by a steering committee and three trainers.

The two-day course is predominantly theory, but with role play involved too.

"There have been interventions before (with people contemplating suicide)," he said. "I wouldn't be comfortable doing it without the training."

This year Project We Care will implement suicide talks in primary and high schools around the region.

The facts

  • The Commission for Children and Young People identified 169 suicide deaths of children and young people in Queensland between July 2004 and June 2013.
  • In 2012-13, suicide was the second leading external cause of death overall with 22 deaths of children aged under 18 years.
  • In total, suicide accounted for 46.8% of deaths by external (non-natural) causes among children and young people aged 10-17 years in 2012-13.
  • Project We Care is a training program designed by Gladstone Port Curtis Rotary Club.
  • It is designed to train people who work with young people safe and effective ways on how to intervene and help someone when they show signs of suicidal tendencies.


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