Once you've set up your community action group, you'll need to let everyone know about it. Why is this important?
- If all members of the community know about the commitment to tackle suicide it will be easier to obtain their support and participation.
- It’s important for individuals, families, community groups and civil leaders to understand that paying attention to others' physical and mental health and social inclusion helps prevent suicide.
- Everyone will benefit because the commitment to prevention is a commitment to improved quality of life for all.
Decide what you want to achieve so you can share it as part of your announcement
You’ll need to spend some time developing your group’s goals and aims. For example you might decide you need to:
- tell people about the problem of suicide and what can help prevent it
- reduce the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides and the distress, physical suffering or disability that can happen after attempted suicides
- build on community activities that encourage resilience and wellbeing through social connection, physical and mental health
- reduce stigma or taboos around suicide
- start small with activities that are manageable and build on these to create a long-term approach to suicide prevention. Take a look at some sample strategies to get you started.
Download this fact sheet from Wesley LifeForce about coming up with a mission statement for your group. Mission_Statement_Fact_Sheet.pdf
Decide how to make your announcement
Consider promoting your group and its aims through your local radio station, television channel or newspaper. Talk to the newspaper editor or station manager to see what's possible. Sometimes they can offer 'community announcements' for a reduced fee.
Other opportunities to spread your message include local sporting events (set up a stall or banner with your message), community gatherings, noticeboards, your local council's 'Whats on' page and school newsletters. If you are trying to reach a particular group of people, think about where they go and how you can get their attention.
Find out more about talking to the media.
- Has your commitment to suicide prevention been publicly stated? How?
- What recognition is there in all parts of the community to this commitment?
- Does everyone know?
- How well does the community understand that quality of life (healthy and inclusive communities) is related to suicide prevention?
Information you should keep
- Media and public communications – what types of coverage, how many mentions, how many repeats?
- Interviews with a cross-section of people
- Surveys of a sample of the community
Retain the media items you have collected and use them as ‘research’ to help you make future approaches or activities more effective.
Here’s what one community did
The Mt Gambier Suicide Prevention Network organised a formal launch and media release of their action plan. The network lodged the plan with the local council. This was the first time that such a plan had been lodged with local government in South Australia. Before you announce your action group, you need to consider what will be the focus of your efforts.