THE Jewish Suicide Prevention Strategy (JSPS) will continue for another year, chairperson Isabelle Shapiro has announced.
The program, led by JewishCare and comprising 21 communal organisations, was launched in 2018 and has been funded by JewishCare, JCA’s Haberman, Kulawicz and Wolanski Funds and the Wolper Jewish Hospital Health Foundation.
Welcoming the announcement, JewishCare Mental Health and Wellbeing manager Claire Gil-Munoz said although a lot has been accomplished, there is still more to be done.
“COVID-19 has been an exceptionally challenging time for people experiencing mental health issues,” she said.
“The challenges involved in isolation plus the fear of what lies ahead have adversely impacted the mental health of many people and the end is not yet in sight so it is important that JSPS remains available to support the community through this period.”
JewishCare CEO Claire Vernon said, “With the additional year’s funding during this challenging period there will be additional workshops and training for people in the community on mental health first aid.
“The more people trained – the more people they can care for and reach – it has a ripple effect. I take this opportunity to thank everyone for their continued support.”
One organisation that has been heavily involved in training volunteers in Mental Health First Aid is the National Council of Jewish Women of Australia’s Mum for Mum Program.
“Mum for Mum volunteers have attended almost 100 Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Prevention courses thanks to the JSPS,” executive director Nadene Alhadeff said.
“This has given our volunteers important skills and resources necessary to provide emotional support to vulnerable, isolated and anxious mothers in our program. It is an extremely worthwhile initiative in creating a more resilient community.”
JSPS’s AfterCare program has provided one-on-one support for a number of community members who have attempted suicide or experienced a suicidal crisis.
Feedback from those who have used this AfterCare program suggest it has been of great benefit and will play a role in reducing their likelihood of further attempts.
During the last year, JSPS also launched the My Wellbeing mobile app which assists individuals to manage their mental health, especially if they are experiencing a crisis.