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Suicide prevention and human connection is at the heart of an innovative training program being rolled out by SafeSide Prevention.

The SafeSide framework supports the NSW Ministry of Health’s Zero Suicides in Care (ZSiC) initiative by enhancing Suicide Prevention skills among staff in healthcare settings. ZSiC has several system- and culture-change focusses, however staff confidence and skill in supporting consumers at challenges points in their life is fundamental.

So far, the SafeSide training has reached more than 900 healthcare professionals across NSW. And with so many people trained, aware and empowered with proven prevention strategies, the program is vital in the ongoing push to reduce suicide in healthcare settings.

Drawing on research showing that people learn best when instruction is paired with positive group interaction, SafeSide’s innovative InPlace® Learning program provides online learning experiences that multiple participants complete together. The video-based program allows training to be delivered in a variety of environments, including those working remotely or in socially distanced settings

SafeSide provides ongoing support and connection with staff following initial training. Alongside the sessions, participants have access to support and knowledge sharing via a web-based Community of Practice, and live Q&A with training for staff to ensure ongoing opportunities to interact and keep up to date.

SafeSide Prevention’s Newcastle-based Family Advocate and Program Coordinator, Mel Clark, explains that the personal element of SafeSide has been the key to the SafeSide and Health partnership.

“Due to lockdowns and other restrictions that have been in place in recent times, many healthcare workers have been feeling isolated from friends, family, and colleagues,” she says. “So we wanted to ensure staff didn’t feel like this vital training was something they’d have to do alone.

"If you’re not bringing people together for shared learning experiences and opportunities to interact with each other, it can be harder to spread that information and those attitudes throughout the organisation.”

SafeSide Prevention Vice President of Subscriber Success, Ann Wood, says the enthusiastic engagement from those who have already taken part in the program is already delivering significant positive outcomes.

Having the voice of lived experience at the heart of everything that we do is super important for this work, so when COVID forced everyone into isolation, I think it was a great tool for people to still come together and experience something that was adding value to their day-to-day work,” she said

It brings them together for a common purpose and I think that has been really important in a time when we've all been isolated. The feedback we’ve had is that it’s very relevant to the participants' day-to-day work and that they have strong intention to put that work into practice.”

woman with blonde hair and white top
Mel Clark, Family Advocate and Program Coordinator, SafeSide Prevention.

Zero Suicides in Care is a NSW Heath Towards Zero Suicides initiative.

Current as at: Tuesday 8 March 2022
Contact page owner: Mental Health Branch