This is the eighth of a multi-part series.
Source: Rotary Down Under, regional magazine of Australia, March 2020
Emotions – Look for What’s Good
“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were big things.” – Robert Brault
Positive emotions – like joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration, and pride – don’t just feel good when we experience them. They also help us perform better, broaden our perception, increase our resilience, and improve our physical health. So, although we need to be realistic about life’s ups and downs, it helps to focus on the good aspects of any situation – the glass half full rather than the glass half empty.
Rotary Club of Gosford North (New South Wales) is helping to save kids from suicide
A JOINT initiative between Rotary and Lifeline is training caregivers to recognise the signs of suicidal thoughts and behaviours in young people living on the NSW Central Coast.
Major Australian studies into youth and adolescent mental health in 2015 and 2016 found nearly one in 20 young people attempted suicide in the year prior. Extending these figures to 24,000 secondary school students on the NSW Central Coast, that potentially equates to over 1000 young people placing themselves in life-threatening situations every year.
The Rotary Club of Gosford North Save Our Kids (SOKS) project has been successfully assisting Central Coast communities reduce young people’s life-threatening behaviours for the past decade.
The program began as an offshoot of a project that Gosford North Rotary ran in 2010, acknowledging young achievers on the Central Coast, however, they also wanted to do something for the strugglers. “The acronym SOKS was created, a committee was formed, and in the following three months, over $17,000 was raised,” said SOKS chairman Lester Pearson.
“We sat down with Lifeline, developed a partnership agreement, and donated $15,000 to begin the delivery of a series of safeTALK programs – a three-hour course
training teachers, welfare personnel and counsellors about how to identify and approach someone who is contemplating suicide.” The program has now expanded
to offer courses in self harm awareness, domestic violence, Mates looking after Mates and senior school students learning suicide intervention skills.
With skill-specific training, caregivers are alert to invitations to help, have the confidence to respond, and the ability to refer for further help. Caregivers are not diagnosticians: they are significant community members who have prepared themselves by undertaking suicide prevention awareness education.
Through the club’s partnership with Lifeline Central Coast, SOKS has sponsored more than 3600 local caregivers in gaining skills in suicide prevention and intervention. Postdelivery research has determined that, as a result of this training, they have saved the lives of 658 young people from suicide on the Central Coast; and they are only the ones known about.
“In the 10 years since SOKS began, we have raised over $600,000,” Lester said. “This has enabled the delivery of 202 workshops to 3643 participants across the Central Coast, as well as sending over 180 young leaders to various leadership and enrichment programs.”
Since SOKS commenced, suicide prevention training has been delivered to 34 of the 36 secondary schools on the Central Coast, as well as sporting organisations through their latest initiative, Mind Your Sports Mates.
The SOKS team has been encouraged by interest shown from other clubs to initiate a similar program and hopes that one day many clubs throughout Australia
will have their own SOKS program in place.
Most people who think about, attempt, or even complete suicide do not really want to die; they just want the pain and suffering they are experiencing to end, and almost everyone gives some clue or warning about their desperation. Lifeline, 2016
more than 30 young people
to attend one of Rotary’s youth
enrichment programs, including
Rotary Youth Leadership Award
(RYLA), Rotary Youth Program of
Enrichment (RYPEN), the National
Youth Science Forum (NYSF) and
HESS Honeywell Engineering
[Please insert chart on next page also. I want to repeat it each part of the series.]