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Bush Support Line team undertake SafeSide suicide prevention training

9 Dec 2022

Our Bush Support Line team, consisting of both CRANAplus senior psychologists and out-of-hours psychologists, share a wealth of clinical experience from having lived and worked across rural and remote Australia. Steph Cooper, Bush Support Line Manager discusses the teams' geographical experience and the importance of their recent SafeSide suicide prevention training.

The con­tent of this arti­cle dis­cuss­es men­tal health and well­be­ing, and sui­cide. This may trig­ger per­son­al expe­ri­ences of trau­ma and we rec­om­mend read­ing with cau­tion if you are con­cerned. If you need sup­port, please call Life­line on 13 11 14 or the Bush Sup­port Line on 1800 805 391.

When one of our psy­chol­o­gists answers the phone, we have a shared under­stand­ing of what it is like to live and work in the unique and chal­leng­ing envi­ron­ments that you are pas­sion­ate about deliv­er­ing health-relat­ed ser­vices to.

We have an under­stand­ing of the chal­lenges you face due to the remote­ness of loca­tion, cli­mate, staffing, access to resources both pro­fes­sion­al­ly and social­ly, and the dif­fi­cul­ties dis­tance creates. 

We are fre­quent­ly told by our callers this is what makes our ser­vice unique and one of the main rea­sons peo­ple feel safe and com­fort­able to pick up the phone and call us when they need some­one to yarn to and seek sup­port from.

Bush Sup­port Line (BSL) psy­chol­o­gists’ geo­graph­i­cal expe­ri­ence. Map data ©2022 Google, INEGI

Safe­Side sui­cide pre­ven­tion training

In June 2022, the Men­tal Health and Well­be­ing (MHW) team met face-to-face in Bris­bane to com­mence the roll­out of the Safe­Side sui­cide pre­ven­tion train­ing to a num­ber of the Bush Sup­port Line out-of-hours psychologists.

The Safe­Side Frame­work is a flex­i­ble approach to sui­cide pre­ven­tion that focus­es on recov­ery, rather than tra­di­tion­al meth­ods of assess­ing risk as low, medi­um, or high.

This was the first time many of the MHW team met in per­son and was an oppor­tu­ni­ty for our CRANAplus MHW team and Bush Sup­port Line out-of-hours psy­chol­o­gists to build rela­tion­ships and grow knowl­edge around con­tem­po­rary sui­cide pre­ven­tion prac­tices to bet­ter sup­port our rur­al and remote health workforce. 

Although the Bush Sup­port Line is not fun­da­men­tal­ly a cri­sis ser­vice, it is cru­cial our psy­chol­o­gists remain cur­rent in con­tem­po­rary sui­cide pre­ven­tion prac­tices to sup­port our callers when they are expe­ri­enc­ing thoughts of suicide. 

It is also impor­tant our psy­chol­o­gists share a com­mon lan­guage to dis­cuss clin­i­cal con­cerns when appro­pri­ate to do so.

Knowl­edge was gained regard­ing apply­ing a new frame­work for sui­cide pre­ven­tion, and spend­ing time face-to-face was an invalu­able expe­ri­ence to have a yarn and share experiences. 

As both our CRANAplus MHW team and our out-of-hours Bush Sup­port Line psy­chol­o­gists are based right across Aus­tralia, we are accus­tomed to meet­ing via video con­fer­ence, so it was a treat to share time in the same phys­i­cal space. 

Although we all com­ment­ed that some of us were taller or short­er than we had assumed we would be from our video’ per­sonas, the time to share our remote clin­i­cal expe­ri­ence on the Bush Sup­port Line and our expe­ri­ences sup­port­ing those at risk of sui­cide, was a valu­able expe­ri­ence to all who were able to attend. 

The MHW team sub­se­quent­ly deliv­ered the Safe­Side sui­cide pre­ven­tion train­ing to the remain­der of the out-of-hours Bush Sup­port Line psy­chol­o­gists via online video train­ing in mid-Sep­tem­ber 2022

This means that all our MHW staff, includ­ing psy­chol­o­gists, edu­ca­tion team and admin­is­tra­tion are all trained in the Safe­Side mod­el of sui­cide pre­ven­tion to sup­port our callers with evi­dence-based inter­ven­tions and have gen­er­al con­ver­sa­tions around sui­cide pre­ven­tion using the same prin­ci­ples and language.

A rare treat – a face-to-face lunch with some of the BSL Crew

Work­ing virtually 

Work­ing remote­ly has become the norm across the world in the last cou­ple of years. At CRANAplus, this has been the norm for the Bush Sup­port Line (for­mer­ly known as the Bush Cri­sis Line) since it was found­ed 25 years ago.

Yet we have not for­got­ten the val­ue of com­ing togeth­er, shar­ing in the impor­tance of pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment, shared expe­ri­ence and build­ing team rela­tion­ships; an expe­ri­ence we each appre­ci­at­ed beyond measure. 

We hope to be able to con­tin­ue to meet face-to-face year­ly to under­take fur­ther learn­ings to sup­port our callers and to build our team relationships.

To learn more about our ser­vice vis­it CRANAplus Men­tal Health and Well­be­ing sup­port.