A community action group is a group made up of community members that want to take action to prevent suicide in their local area.
It’s important to form an action group for suicide prevention because:
- setting up an action group is a great step towards developing a plan that addresses local needs and priorities
- your group’s membership should-
- reflect the people who’ll be involved in carrying out, monitoring and evaluating the action plan
- the people who will be the focus of the plan and its activities
- include people with lived experience of suicide who can bring knowledge and insight
- from the beginning it’s important to make sure your group has enough support and resources
- announcing the establishment of the group helps to get the community to participate.
Why are community suicide prevention groups set up?
Many community groups come together after a death by suicide occurs in their area to:
- support vulnerable individuals, families and groups
- increase the wellbeing, resilience and social connectedness of the entire community
- increase the support given to vulnerable individuals and groups
- reduce stigma about mental health and about seeking help
- prevent further deaths by suicide.
Organising any community action, such as sporting and social events, works best if community members and representatives of organisations and services combine their efforts. Suicide prevention is no different. You need a group of committed people to plan and co-ordinate activities that address the needs and priorities of your community.
A community action group can offer encouragement and support in good times and when there are setbacks, for example, another suicide.
What other communities have done
- On the Central Coast of NSW a Suicide Safety Network has been established. It is a community, non-profit organisation that aims to create connections between organisations and individuals that want to help reduce the numbers of suicide deaths.
- A Life Worth Living Committee has been established in Narrabri. The committee was formed after an above-average number of suicides in the area. in recent times. The committee has increased knowledge of mental health and connected people to services, such as the National StandBy Response Service which helped the community cope with suicide bereavement.