16 February 2022

A new, innovative suicide prevention initiative has been added to the web of support available in the Murrumbidgee region, thanks to a $46 million investment in new community-based suicide prevention services in NSW.

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor today officially opened the Kooyoo Street Safe Haven, one of 20 Safe Havens being trialled across the State.

“Whether you need a chat with someone who understands what you’re going through or some calming activities to reduce the intensity of your thoughts, you will be welcomed at the Griffith Safe Haven,” Mrs Taylor said.

“We wanted to create a welcoming environment, so that when someone is feeling overwhelmed or in suicidal distress they know they’re not alone and there is a place of refuge in their local community.

“Importantly, the Safe Haven is staffed by peer workers who have livid experience. They understand what you are going through and how best to support you.”

Griffith also has a new Suicide Prevention Outreach Team, which is co-located with the Safe Haven.

Mrs Taylor said 20 of these mobile teams are being established across the State, with 14 already on the ground.

“Their role is provide rapid outreach to people in suicidal distress, meeting with them in the community and, ideally, close to the family and other support networks,” Mrs Taylor said.

“We know thoughts of suicide can be triggered by a range of painful experiences - such as divorce, unemployment, retirement or death of a spouse; these mobile teams will work with affected individuals to identify their specific triggers and how to better manage them.”

Griffith Safe Haven Peer Worker Karen Snaidero said her role is to provide a welcoming, safe space for visitors and help them understand what services are available.

“It’s important to have someone to talk to who understands you and can relate to how you are feeling,” Ms Snaidero said.

“We are here to help find the right services for you. Just reaching out is the best thing you can do, and together we will work out a plan to support you moving forward.”

People can be referred to their local Suicide Prevention Outreach Teams by a mental health service, the NSW Mental Health Line and local community organisations.

The Griffith Safe Haven is located at 81 Kooyoo Street and opens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 2.00pm – 9.00pm. No referral is required and it is free of charge.

If you, or someone you know, is thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis or distress, please seek help immediately by calling 000 or one of these services:

  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
  • NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511
  • Murrumbidgee Accessline 1800 800 944