“Whenever I tell people my job title of Suicide Prevention Coordinator, I’m often met with bewilderment and questions of “Wow…How did you get into that?”.
Hannah Matanda is our Suicide Prevention Coordinator in the Goldfields. She is passionate about raising awareness that, just like road accidents and some health conditions, suicide is preventable.
Saturday 10 September was World Suicide Prevention Day, and Hannah has shared some insight into how all of us can work to prevent suicide.
“People who are suicidal may feel trapped. They can feel like there is no other option. By reaching out, you can signal to them that there is hope, that you do care and that support is available.
It’s not about coming up with solutions. Rather, it’s just the simple act of offering support and making the time to listen to and sit with that person’s emotions. Even small talk can save lives – it can create a sense of connection and hope in someone who is struggling.
There is still a great deal of stigma and shame around suicide, which only isolates people more. We can all change how we talk about suicide. By ensuring suicide is no longer taboo, we are all doing something to prevent it.
When suicide or suicide attempt does occur, have courage and sit with those affected. If a tragedy is not shared or spoken of, there can be no true sympathy, and no true healing.
The stories of people with lived experience of suicide are particularly powerful. Sharing experiences of significant emotional distress, suicidal thoughts or an attempt, or being bereaved by a suicide can inspire hope in others that they too can move through their distress. It help others to better understand suicide, it can prompt others to reach out and offer support, it can encourage individuals to seek help.
By showing empathy, reaching out and sharing experiences we can give people the strength and confidence to take alternative actions to suicide.”