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Hunter Institute wins LIFE Award for suicide prevention

27 July 2016

Last night, the Hunter Institute of Mental Health was recognised for its collaborative work with the mental health and suicide prevention sectors, media and communities as the recipient of the 2016 LIFE Award for Community Engagement (organisation).

The award was accepted by Hunter Institute Director Jaelea Skehan and presented by Sue Murray, CEO of Suicide Prevention Australia, at the National Suicide Prevention Conference in Canberra.

The Annual LIFE Awards recognise excellence in suicide prevention and are a prestigious national event that showcases the exciting, innovative and diverse range of programs being undertaken within the field.

"I am proud of the work our team does, often going above and beyond what is expected because they feel connected to and committed to changing and saving lives."

Jaelea Skehan, Director, Hunter Institute of Mental Health

Since 1997, the Institute has been actively working regionally and nationally in suicide prevention delivering successful evidence-based policy and programs, and has demonstrated capability and excellence in community engagement through its Mindframe National Media Initiative work and Conversations Matter program.

In accepting the award, Ms Skehan was both delighted and honoured noting how important it was to see the staff at the Institute acknowledged, not just for the work they do, but the way they go about doing it.

"More than ever before, communities are interested in and engaged with the issue of suicide prevention so we need to consider ways to involve them and support them to take on a role in suicide prevention.

"We also need to support communities when they have been affected by suicide and ensure that we give them the tools to talk about what happened and to heal."

Jaelea Skehan said that the award is an acknowledgement of the work that the team have done alongside communities across Australia.  

"People will rarely hear about much of the work our team does with communities because the goal of that work is to support other agencies and leaders within communities.

"I am proud of the work our team does, often going above and beyond what is expected because they feel connected to and committed to changing and saving lives."

The Hunter Institute was also proud to present its Mindframe sponsored LiFE Media Award to the The Sunday Telegraph for their “Can We Talk” youth suicide media campaign.

Mindframe Program Manager Marc Bryant said, "The Sunday Telegraph engaged Mindframe early on and took steps to ensure stories focused on encouraging hope and help seeking behaviour, whilst making sure risk was mitigated by not focusing on information that may impact negatively on vulnerable people.”

The Hunter Institute congratulates all the other award winners on the night and the team at Suicide Prevention Australia for hosting an important and inspiring event. 

Follow the Hunter Institute of Mental Health on Facebook and Twitter @HInstMH.