Two new mental health services that aim to prevent suicide have been launched in St George and Sutherland Shire.
The two services, SPOT and SafeHaven, were officially launched during an event at Kogarah last Friday, which was attended by Sharks players Jackson Ferris and Royce Hunt.
Junior Talipeau and Beaudie Cullen from KOPS (Knock Out Play School) boxing and mental health program also attended the launch.
SPOT (Suicide Prevention Outreach Team) is based at Sutherland Hospital and is described as an 'assertive outreach service' to support people in the community.
The aim is to provide mobile outreach support to people experiencing a situational crisis or suicidal distress.
SPOT focuses on people who would not otherwise come to the attention of the mental health system or present to emergency departments. It is hoped that by taking critical care into the community those in need will feel more comfortable accessing a mental health service.
The SafeHaven centre in Belgrave Street, Kogarah, is a purpose-designed centre staffed by peer workers where people can go to chat to staff, have a tea or coffee, join in an activity or sit in a quiet spot and listen to music.
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) Mental Health Services general manager Ange Karooz said the two services would provide support for people experiencing mental health challenges and suicidal distress.
"Both SafeHaven and SPOT provide people with information about community-based services that will help with immediate or longer term needs, as well as providing opportunities to speak with staff members, many of whom have had their own personal lived experience of suicidal distress," Ms Karooz said.
"Instead of struggling alone or heading to an emergency department, people experiencing mental health distress can come into the purpose-designed SafeHaven and meet with peer workers, who will provide a safe, non-judgemental and comfortable space.
"At SafeHaven people have the opportunity to learn about their own response to crises and to develop self-management skills to help them to maintain their mental health on an ongoing basis."
According to SESLHD, there is an average of 18 suicide deaths each week in NSW.
Providing support to people who are experiencing suicidal distress and situational crisis are components of NSW Health's Towards Zero Suicide Program.
The government plans to spend $87 million over three years on new suicide prevention initiatives.
Details: SafeHaven, 20/24 Belgrave Street, Kogarah (entry via Kensington Street). Just walk in, no appointments or referrals necessary. Or phone 9113 2981.
To access SPOT phone the Acute Care Team on 1800 011 511.
If you, or someone you know, is thinking about suicide or experiencing a personal crisis or distress, seek help immediately by calling:
Lifeline, 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service, 1300 659 467
NSW Mental Health Line, 1800 011 511