Launch of 2017 - 2019 Suicide Prevention Project at RPP FM

Minister for Health Greg Hunt renews funding for Community Broadcasting Suicide Prevention Project

Helen Henry, 25th July 2017
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On Monday, 24 July, the 2017 - 2019 Community Broadcasting Suicide Prevention Project was launched live on air at Mornington Peninsula's RPP FM.

Federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt and Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Sue Murray joined Community Broadcasting Association of Australia CEO Jon Bisset at the station to announce this renewed funding and discuss the importance of the project.

In an interview with RPP FM's Ellice Viggers, Minister Hunt said the government aims to ensure that people feel equipped when they or their loved ones are confronted with issues linked to suicide and suicide prevention.

"At the end of the day the issue of despair and darkness is one which confronts virtually every family, or all of us know somebody and have in some way been affected. We're providing, all up, $960,000 to [the CBAA] to assist with getting that message out that there are ways through for suicide prevention, that if you are in a dark place... there are incredible supports such as Suicide Prevention Australia, such as Lifeline, to assist... As alone as you may feel, there are people that want to help and people that can help."

CBAA Chief Executive Officer Jon Bisset sees community radio as a very effective medium for sharing this kind of educational and informative content with a large and diverse audience.

"Community radio is particularly able to access groups that commercial radio and the ABC and SBS don't, like Aboriginal communities, the RPH network, and ethnic communities across the country...it's a really good way to access large numbers of people and reach deep into communities to ensure that these really important messages get out there."

Bisset spoke further on the project to community radio's national independent current affairs program, The Wire.

"It's a series of segments...that we then broadcast across the country to community radio station to help them connect with their local community, so that the communities can better understand what can be done around suicide prevention," says CBAA CEO Jon Bisset.

"The program has now been going for a number of years. It's seen as extremely successful by the Government and also the broader suicide prevention sector."

Suicide Prevention Australia's CEO Sue Murray praised community radio's role in strengthening communities broadly, as well as providing people in those communities with the information they need to recognise signs that their friends and family may be at risk and need further support.

"It's recognising those signs and then spending time with that individual to keep them calm, and then I think it's about having the confidence to be able to take them on to get further support. That confidence comes from knowing what services are available in their communities, and that then comes the full circle back to how important community radio can be in strengthening our capacity to support people who are vulnerable to suicide."

Karen Russell, Manager of Bidjara Media Broadcasting told The Wire how her station uses content from the project.

"...We've been running the project for quite a few years on our station and we find that it provides a lot of good information and a lot of good networks for people to contact.

Each month, 20 short radio segments are released to community broadcasters across Australia. They are designed to promote help-seeking behaviour and positive lifestyle choices, using interviews with service providers, as well as profiles of people who have successfully dealt with tough times in their lives. Get the latest ones to use on your station or program here.

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