Program for Stop Male Suicide in VIC seminar, June 2017




9.00am: Registration


9.30am: Opening remarks, Glen Poole, Stop Male Suicide project

9.50am: Lived experience speaker, Layne Stretton of Roses In The Ocean shares his personal experience of losing his brother to suicide.

10.05am: Owen Connolly is an endorsed Mental Health Nurse Practitioner working in acute mental health and suicide prevention. He leads Gippsland Suicide Prevention Service which is delivered in a partnership between Gippsland PHN and Latrobe Regional Hospital. He has over 24 years’ experience within mental health and drug settings in the delivery of clinical care, education and leadership. He will talk about his work to prevent male suicide in Gippsland.

10.25am: James Fowles of MensLine outlines the support that the service provides to men at risk of suicide.


11.15am:  Starting the Conversation – An innovative approach to suicide prevention and funding regional services.

John Patterson a farmer and Freemason from Lismore, lost his brother Charles a 27 year old sheep farmer to suicide 30 years ago.  John has spent the past two years travelling to masonic lodges and community groups and starting a conversation about suicide prevention, by reciting a poem titled “Rain From Nowhere”.  This initiative has seen The Otway District Freemasons raise in excess of $30,000 which has provided a large portion of the funds to form a new Support After Suicide Service in the Geelong Region.  This service is being fronted by Melinda Hopper who also has a personal passion in this area, having lost her 27 year old sister to suicide in 2008 and is the first funded service of it’s kind in regional Victoria. John and Melinda will talk about this initiative and how starting a conversation, particularly in rural areas where suicide amongst males is extremely high and social stigma is rife, is making a huge impact in getting men to open up about their mental health struggles.

11.45am:  Support After Suicide Men’s Program 

Colin Charles is a social worker, family therapist and grief and loss counsellor who has worked in the welfare field for over 20 years. He has worked in both government and non-government settings in a variety of positions including residential care, child protection and youth and family counselling.

Prior to commencing work with Support After Suicide, Colin worked as a Senior Bereavement Counsellor and Support Groups Coordinator at the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement. His areas of interests include group work, working creatively with children and young people and men’s bereavement.

He is joined by Ian Maurer, who was part of the initial men’s program steering committee, was the group’s first guest speaker  and has been a participant of the program since it started.

He is also joined by Michael Collins, a volunteer who heard about the Men’s Program through a radio interview he was listening to. He contacted Support After Suicide, became a volunteer in October 2016 and has been an integral member of the Men’s Program since then.

For the last 5 years Support After Suicide has been running a Men’s Program. It’s held on the second Thursday evening of the month and most months involve invited guest speakers sharing their own stories, experiences or knowledge.

This presentation will provide an insight into the Support After Suicide Men’s Program, what it has achieved over the last five years and will consider the question of what makes it work?

12.15pm: LUNCH

1.15pm: Aboriginal men and Suicide in Victoria

Dr. Anton Isaacs (Senior Lecturer, Monash Rural Health) is a public health physician by training and is interested in the design, implementation and evaluation of mental health services for rural and disadvantaged communities. Anton did his doctorate in Aboriginal men’s help seeking for mental health problems. He has evaluated the Victorian government’s Aboriginal youth suicide prevention program and provided advice to the WA mental health commission on a state wide comprehensive suicide prevention program.

1.40pm: The suicidality of men aged over 85

Dr Kylie King (Mental Health Researcher, Centre for Mental Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne) is a mental health researcher at The University of Melbourne. She began her career in mental health as a psychologist and then transitioned into research with the hope of using research to have population wide positive impacts on mental health and wellbeing. In recent years her work has focused on the mental health of men in particular. Today Kylie will talk to you about what is already known about the suicidality of men aged over 85 and about what a new research project hopes to discover.


2.45pm:  Young men’s mental health: Focussing on an at-risk group 

Dr Simon Rice (Clinical Psychologist & Research Fellow; Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health) has worked in youth mental health for the past 8 years. His clinical role is based at the Youth Mood Clinic, an early intervention service for young people following suicide attempt or ideation. He will discuss the importance of gender-appropriate assessment of young men’s distress, ways to establish and maintain young men’s engagement with support services, and the need to co-design in the next-generation of suicide prevention interventions with young men.

3.10pm: Layne Stretton  speaks about empowering men to share their stories to help other men. Layne represents Roses in the Ocean, a lived experience organisation founded on and operating through the lens of lived experience.  The organisation’s speakers program “Voices of In-Sight” has trained over 150 speakers across Australia since 2014.  Layne explores the power of storytelling to make real connections with audiences of any size, and discusses the benefits to both the speaker and those who hear their lived experience story.

3.30pm: Pete Nicholls is CEO of Parents Beyond Breakup (PBB) and has facilitated one of PBB’s Dads In Distress support groups in Sydney CBD. The charity’s objectives include providing support services for separated parents and raising awareness of suicide, particularly where it relates to divorce and separation. Pete will talk about the impact that PBB’s work is having on reducing the risk of suicide in separated dads.

3.50pm: Glen Poole, Stop Male Suicide project, closing comments.

4pm: CLOSE

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