SUICIIDE PREVENTION – SIX MINUTE INTENSIVE TRAINING – (SMIT) – A Gary Raymond OAM & Rotary Club of Blacktown City Initiative
Chief Inspector Gary Raymond APM, OAM (Ret’d) served 5 years as an ambulance officer with the NSW Ambulance and 34 years with the NSW Police Force. Gary also served 20 years as a member of the Rotary Club of Blacktown City Inc.
During his time with Ambulance and Police, Gary has prevented a large number of suicides and homicides. He was a Suicide Crisis Negotiator with the Police Rescue Squad for 10 years preventing people from jumping to their deaths. As a Police Detective, Gary investigated a large number of suicides and homicides for the State Coroner.
Each year in Australia, an average of 3,500 people take their own lives, 350 murders, 1,100 vehicle crash deaths and 65,000 people attempt to take their own life each year. The ‘ripple effect’ to families and the community is tragic and wide-reaching.
People are vulnerable with Mental Illness, Relationship Breakdowns, Addictions, Financial challenges, LGBTQI+, Aboriginal & Torrens Straight Islanders, Homelessness, Domestic Violence and many more.
Suicide and Homicide remain the most preventable deaths worldwide. Training and Education is vital to enable the community as a whole to be proactive in prevention and referring to professional help.
There was a widespread lack of Suicide Prevention Awareness in the general community. A survey of 100 people in Main Street, Blacktown revealed 98 of those surveyed had no suicide prevention education at all. The other two people surveyed worked at Blacktown Hospital and had suicide prevention training.
Gary and his Rotary Club of Blacktown City have been reaching out to the community to prevent suicide and homicide by presenting the SMIT. Our members have reached out to many Rotary Clubs, Rotary Club Presidents, Rotary Conferences, local business office staff, factories, solicitors, Probus Clubs, NSW Ambulance Legacy Officers (Retired & Former Paramedics) Corrective Services NSW (Prison Officers), Retired & Former Police Association NSW (Retired Police), NSW Fire & Rescue, RSL Sub-Branch members (military veterans), Domestic Violence Prevention Groups, Indigenous Groups and New Arrivals to Australia. and many home visits to those with a family member displaying suicidal risk factors.
The SMIT has been presented to interstate and overseas Law Enforcement Agencies via ZOOM and TEAMS platforms to LAPD, NYPD, Papua New Guinea PF, Victoria Police Retired Police.
The SMIT program is easy for members to be trained & present the program to their family & other community ties. The program gives list of organisations for referral of vulnerable people who have suicidal, homicidal thoughts or plans.
The SMIT is at no cost to the participants or workplace. It is only six minutes duration which most workplaces and organisations can afford. It gives concise facts on Suicide & Homicide Prevention. Participants can avail themselves to further education & training in the subject if they desire to do so from a Registered Training Organisation.
SMIT can be presented indoors, outdoors, on social media or video platforms.
The SMIT program aims to have at least 10% Blacktown LGA community members made aware of Suicide Prevention in the next 3 years.
Evidence shows the SMIT has already saved lives after people in the community have been made aware of the Suicide Prevention and have referred vulnerable people to professional support.
SMIT uses the DASH acronym. D – for Detect Suicide & Homicidal people, A – Ask them if they are Suicidal or Homicidal, S – Stay with them & don’t leave them alone, H – Help get them to help or help to them. SMIT also covers what to ask and say, how to get help and where.
On a number of occasions, after SMIT sessions, people have felt safe enough to reveal to our Club members they are actually suicidal. Help is then obtained for those people thus saving their lives.
DASH – Detect . Ask . Stay . Help
RED ALERT An event causing depression or anxiety may be the FIRST red flag of a future suicide risk e.g., relationship breakdown, business failure or any unwanted loss or change in their life. People with existing or unmanaged mental health conditions are a red alert. People drunk, drugged or suffering trauma (PTSD) are also a red alert.
RED ALERT Suicidal people can become homicidal & homicidal people can become suicidal.
They may feel betrayed or angry and think about taking their own life & somebody else’s. Some feel lonely, not wanted or a burden on family or the world. Some have a terminal illness or life-changing injuries. They may have overwhelming grief from an unwanted loss or change in their life.
RED ALERT People who talk about killing themselves or someone else must be taken very seriously. Don’t dismiss it as ‘just talk’ or attention seeking’. They might carry out their threats.
Most are too afraid to tell people they are suicidal or homicidal fearing they will not be believed, ridiculed, bullied, chastised, get into trouble, made fun of or ignored.
The best way to find out if a person is suicidal or homicidal is to ASK.
The second-best way to find out if a person is suicidal or homicidal is to ASK.
The third-best way to find out if a person is suicidal or homicidal is to ASK.
What question would you ask a depressed or anxious person?
“Are you suicidal?”
“Are you thinking of taking your own life or someone else’s?”
“Are you planning on ending your life or someone else’s?”
If “yes” & they’re upset or not making sense, you may call Ambulance on 000.
If threatening or violent, call Police on 000.
Does talking about suicide or homicide make a person want to do it? NO IT DOESN’T. Research actually shows it opens an honest & safe discussion about their suicide or homicidal thoughts before, during or after a crisis allowing them to vent and share their thoughts openly & share with someone who is willing to listen.
Ask about their PLAN. It alerts if they have a plan, what their plan is and its progress towards completing their suicide.
HOW are you going to suicide?
WHEN are you going to suicide?
WHERE are you going to suicide?
WHY are you going to suicide?
RED ALERT So called ‘Reverse Psychology’ is very dangerous. Never dare, challenge, suggest, assist or encourage a person to suicide. Vulnerable people may just do it.
RED ALERT Do not accuse a suicidal person of ‘attention seeking’ or ‘playing around with you’. Suicidal people don’t want attention, they NEED attention.
If people say “No, I’m not suicidal or homicidal”, what then?
Don’t accuse them of lying, holding back or covering up.
Offer them future help & resources just in case & make an agreement with them not to suicide or harm someone else but to seek help.
RED ALERT Sudden unexplained mood improvement (becoming happy, settled or calm) for no apparent reason after contemplating suicide, may mean a decision to actually suicide.
REMEMBER, suicidal people need hope & help to live. You can be that person.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
If you’re suffering with depression or anxiety, seek help without delay.
See your GP, attend a Hospital ED or ring Lifeline on 13 11 14.
USEFUL HELP NUMBERS
In an emergency (immediate risk or harm), ring Police or Ambulance on 000
NSW Mental Health Access Line – 1800 011 511 (24/7)
Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14 or SMS: 0477 131 114 (24/7)
Suicide Callback Service – 1300 659 467 (24/7)
Beyond Blue – 1300 22 46 36 (24/7)
MensLine – 1300 78 99 78 (24/7)
Open Arms for veterans – 1800 011 046 (24/7)
Kids Helpline – 1800 55 18 00
Headspace – 1800 650 890 (12–25-year-olds)
SANE – 1800 18 72 63
Gary Raymond – 0432 569 589
DASH – Detect Ask Stay Help
Blacktown City Rotary Club members will not rest until the suicide & homicide rates have been drastically reduced.
Blacktown City Rotary Club website: https://rotaryclubblacktowncity.org/
Chief Inspector Gary Raymond APM, OAM (Ret’d) Phone: 0432 569 589
If you would like Gary or one of his team to present SMIT to your business unit, club or group, Contact the Rotary Club of Blacktown City or Gary Raymond OAM