2,866 reasons why we should keep the conversation going about suicide prevention

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

Minister for Mental Health Shane Rattenbury will on Sunday participate in the Puka Up bike ride, which is taking the conversation about suicide prevention from Sydney to Melbourne via Canberra.

Each of the 1,433 kilometres will be ridden by the 27 Puka Up riders, with each rider representing two people who tragically died by suicide in Australia in 2016.

Puka Up is a new social enterprise founded by one of Australia’s leading mental health advocates, Wayne Schwass. Having battled silently with his own mental health for much of his sporting career, Wayne is now a dedicated mental health advocate, committed to raising awareness about mental health, emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention. In the Hindi language, Pukka means ‘authentic and genuine’.

Suicide prevention is a key priority for the ACT Government. The Government has recently invested:

  • $1.5 million over three years to address the important challenges of suicide prevention by working with the Black Dog Institute to introduce the LifeSpan project this year; and

  • $446,000 in a trial of the Way Back Support Service in which offers non-clinical, assertive follow-up services to help people who have attempted suicide to connect with appropriate supports.

Comments attributable to Minister for Mental Health Shane Rattenbury:

“Suicide is a largely preventable cause of death that is taking the lives of too many Australians, and too many Canberrans, every year.

“As a society, we must remind ourselves about the importance of talking to the people we care about and checking in on their wellbeing because a conversation could make all the difference. We can all play a role in preventing suicide by reducing the stigma around it and encouraging those who may need help to seek help.”