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Bush Support Line team undertake SafeSide suicide prevention training
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.
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.
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.