Wollondilly will soon have its own band of 'gatekeepers' to help protect people's mental health.
The NSW Government is investing $2.8 million over the next three years to train 10,000 volunteers in suicide prevention skills.
Wollondilly MP Nathaniel Smith welcomed the program and said that having a network of people trained to spot when someone was struggling would benefit the whole community.
"This life-saving program will mean that when a person shows signs of needing help, there will be someone in their circle who can make sure they stay safe and seek support," he said.
"We are building a safety net within the community because tragically, over 40 per cent of people who die by suicide have not reached out for professional support."
Mr Smith joined with Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor in saying that the 'gatekeepers' would play a critical role in community-based suicide prevention because they help connect workmates, friends and family to professional support.
"Gatekeeper training gives people the skills to recognise the signs that someone is at risk of suicide and the confidence to start a conversation with them about how to access support," he said.
The government is also calling on members of the community to volunteer and take part in training to become a gatekeeper.
Gatekeeper training will be provided by 13 organisations with expertise in engaging specific at-risk communities.
The program will target high-risk populations and industries, including men between 18 and 35, female apprentices in construction, family lawyers, Aboriginal communities, veterinarians, older people and the LGBTIQ community.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing a personal crisis, please seek help immediately by calling 000 or one of these services:
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
- or the NSW Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511
For more information, or to apply to become a gatekeeper, visit: health.nsw.gov.au/gatekeeper.