In western NSW where statistics show the suicide rate is significantly higher than the Australia-wide rate, communities are redoubling their efforts to prevent the loss of life.
Available national data shows that in 2017, 3128 people died by suicide, leading to a rate of 12.6 per 100,000 population, a suicide prevention specialist has told a forum at Dubbo.
But in the Cobar shire the rate was 26.8 per 100,000 population and in the Walgett shire it was 24.3 per 100,000.
This week communities members and professionals gathered at Dubbo to work towards solutions.
The forum, presented by Western NSW Primary Health Network (WNSWPHN) in partnership with Wesley LifeForce, was an opportunity to share knowledge and practical strategies.
WNSWPHN suicide prevention program coordinator Sue Hackney said it had a dual focus, with both Aboriginal community members and drought-affected farming communities high on the list of priorities.
"There's no one formula or recipe for how you can prevent suicide from occurring, but knowledge, both in the research field as well as in communities' own collective knowledge gets better and better all the time," Ms Hackney said.
"So it's a case of continually trying new ways, to learn from things that have not worked in the past.
"And it's just not acceptable that people in our community get to states of utter despair that life is not worth living, and surely we can do something about that."
The WNSWPHN was one of 12 sites selected for a National Suicide Prevention Trial across Australia, which is now in its third year.
"It's trialling a new, what they call a systems-based approach to suicide prevention," Ms Hackney said.
"So it's been exciting work and very innovative work is coming out of our community.
"We hope to be able to make a real contribution to the emerging knowledge of how different communities, in particular different rural communities, will find ways to do all the things we know protect people from reaching those levels of utter despair.
"So for instance, in Cobar, which is a community that has a big mining base, we're running a number of initiatives there because there are retrenchments going on at the moment.
"We know the stress of that can if not supported well, not responded to well, can lead people to worrying states of despair.
"So we've engaged an organisation called Mates in Mining to do a range of work with not only the mining companies, but the mining workforce and mining families as well."
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