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Holistic Approach Key to Reducing Suicide in Regional Areas: Greens

Media Release
Penny Wright 20 Mar 2012

Suicides on the Fleurieu Peninsula, and in the Strathalbyn and Adelaide Hills region over the last 18 months have highlight an urgent need to fill gaps in mental health services for regional, rural and remote South Australia, Greens spokesperson for Mental Health, Senator Penny Wright, said.

"In developing its suicide prevention strategy, the South Australian government must listen closely to those who have experienced serious mental illness and those who have lost a loved one to suicide to identify where the gaps in services and supports are," Senator Wright said.

"Accounts from people who have direct experience of these issues tell us that there are serious gaps in mental health service delivery in regional, rural and remote South Australia, with long waiting times for critical help which sometimes - tragically - just does not come in time.

"Australia's unique geography poses challenges for service delivery in regional, rural and remote areas and workforce shortages compound the problem. Innovative solutions are needed to ensure that country people have access to specialist treatment - from psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health nurses and social workers.

"As well as effective and timely clinical treatment, suicide prevention requires a more holistic, strategic approach which focuses on services which improve wellbeing, increase awareness, reduce stigma and allow people to feel connected and valued in their communities.

"If it is to work, the government's suicide prevention strategy must be based on genuine consultation with those people who can tell us exactly what is needed so that they, and their families and friends, can stay safe, wherever they live. This is a matter of equity and urgency."

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