Start a Suicide Prevention Group (SPG)
Most of the time, rural communities are motivated to create a farmer suicide prevention group after a life has been lost. This is a call to Start Now. It takes one person to initiate and invite others in your community to join you.
Why start a SPG?
SPGs are imperative to rural communities. Local people know their community well, the issues impacting people’s lives and are close by to provide information, awareness and peer support.
How to start a SPG?
Consider everyone who might be involved over the age of 18, including farmers, small business owners, teachers, health care professionals, local photographers—everyone!
SPGs often start with one or two people wanting to bring a group together to support their community. In some cases, people get on the phone and invite a few people to help set up the group and its aims.
Hold an open meeting to involve as many community members as possible in the development of the group. Send personal emails and phone invitations to a wide variety of people.
An open meeting is a good way for the group to be community owned and involve more people in its work. This helps the group become sustainable over time. Invite as many people as possible to shape the structure of the group and its key purposes. You might initially discuss what the governance structure might look like; how often you might meet and where; and how to involve people with specific skills sets (e.g. knowledge about social media, marketing, mental health etc.).
Financial support might be available
Communities in some Australian states are eligible for financial support in getting started from their health or agricultural departments or not-for-profits like Uniting Care Wesley. You might also be able to garner support from your local businesses or council. Check what is available to you and have conversations with local and agri-businesses as mental health is everybody’s concern.
How these SPGs came about
The following films have been created by four rural community groups. These films showcase how they got started, what they have learned and what has worked for them.
Fact sheet – start a suicide prevention group
Download our fact sheet on ‘how to start a suicide prevention group (SPG)’ and get together with your community to drive change and offer support.