In November 2013 the Far North Queensland Suicide Issues Community Forum, organised by the Dr Edward Koch Foundation, was held at the Cairns Convention Centre. More than 120 people attended. The forum's aim was to address suicide prevention in the local community and to gather together people from all walks of life, along with government, non-government, business and industry stakeholders, to collectively identify the needs of the FNQ region in relation to suicide prevention, intervention and post-intervention.
Items on the agenda included talks from industry leaders at the time, including:
- Ian Maynard, Director-General of Queensland Health
- Professor Diego De Leo, Director of the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) at Griffith University
- Patrick Cooke, Indigenous Employment, Training and Business Development Manager, Crocksolid
- Marie O’Dea, Manager of headspace Cairns
- Michael Oates, Engagement and Development Officer of headspace School Support
- Michael Trout, State Member for Barron River
- Susan Murray, CEO Suicide Prevention Australia
- Dr Siobhan O’Dwyer, Research Fellow, AISRAP and the Centre for Health Practice Innovation, Griffith University
A Q&A session with the panel followed.
Speakers, who were experts in their fields, informed the attendees on a variety of topics and stimulated ideas for discussion. Renowned professor Diego De Leo, Director of the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) at Griffith University, also spoke to the forum via Skype.
The forum allowed those who attended the chance to raise concerns about unmet needs in our community, to say what is being done well, what helps or what hinders persons at risk of suicide or bereaved by suicide.
The outcome of the Community Forum discussions helped guide the Foundation and other service providers in planning for community-targeted projects. A paper, based on the day’s proceedings, was written by the Foundation’s FNQ Suicide Prevention Taskforce, and submitted to both State and Federal governments.
The Forum was a great success and helped inform the suicide prevention work of the community and the Foundation. The Foundation would like to thank our major sponsor, Suicide Prevention Australia, for their involvement in the forum.