Guild offers help for helpers

Brisbane, Logan and the Redlands communities have been invited to take advantage of free suicide prevention training

Community members and pharmacy staff from Brisbane, Logan, the Redlands and surrounding areas have been invited by The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch, to participate in four free local early suicide prevention programs to support their local community.

The Guild cited 2020 evidence showing there is likely to be a significant negative mental health stemming from COVID-19 pandemic; the program aims to train pharmacy staff and community members to engage in conversations with people at risk for early intervention.

The programs, Conversations for Life and Stronger Smarter Yarns for Life, are being run as four fully funded workshops in Brisbane, Eight Mile Plains, Logan Central and the Redlands from Monday 16 August – Thursday 19 August 2021 for both community members and local pharmacy staff.

Guild Queensland Branch Acting President Chris Owen said that both community members and pharmacy staff in Brisbane participate together in the integrated training.

“By educating and upskilling Queenslanders in early suicide prevention, we hope to increase the confidence of community members and pharmacy staff so they can engage in conversations with people at risk for early intervention,” he said.

“We’ve had such a great response from the community already that the Eight Mile Plains and Redlands workshops are full. There are limited places left at the Logan Central workshop on Tuesday 17 August.

“There are only 15 spaces per workshop and limited places remain,” said Mr Owen. “Now’s the time if you’ve ever wanted to join training around early conversations, building community connections and social inclusion.

“Community pharmacies are highly accessible with 97% of consumers living within 2.5km of their local community pharmacy, and 66% in regional areas. Pharmacies are also the most frequently visited health destinations and staff are well placed for significant interactions with members of the public.

“The program will also highlight referral pathways to locally-led suicide prevention services to support practical and ongoing community collaboration.”

Brisbane South PHN’s Chief Executive Officer, Mike Bosel said that supporting mental health services was a high priority for the primary health network.

“Brisbane South PHN is proud to support this training for pharmacy staff and community members to help increase their confidence to engage with people who may be at risk. Building relationships between local pharmacy staff and people who attend the pharmacy is an important way we can work together for the benefit of our whole community.”

Mr Owen said that, “Community pharmacists are trusted healthcare professionals who are in a unique position not only to recognise suicidality, but to encourage others in the community to recognize it, respond appropriately and with this kind of training too.”

The program is supported by funding from the Australian Government through Brisbane South Primary Health Network (PHN).

Limited places are left at the Logan workshop on the evening of Tuesday 17 August. Pharmacy staff and local community members can register for the free training at

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