Jewish House suicide prevention meeting

May 16, 2009 by Rabbi Mendel Kastel
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The Jewish House, Lifeline and the Wolper Hospital worked in conjunction to present an evening of education on Suicide prevention at the Hakoah Club on Wednesday 13 May, 2009.

It was very well attended with over 100 people there.  Wolper Hospital’s CEO Graham Einfeld hosted the evening presenting the first speaker, Rabbi Mendel Kastel.  The Rabbi spoke about the Jewish and spiritual view on suicide and related some of his personal experiences, which unfortunately are too many and too often.  Through his investigations, Rabbi Kastel reported that of all the Jewish deaths, at least one a month is through suicide. or accidental death

The next speaker was Lindy McGregor of Lifeline whose introductory words were that “Suicide is preventable”.  She discussed the making the connection, facts and figures and what to look for.  She said that the biggest killers are stigma, taboo and misinformation.  The statistics say that in the last year or two that suicide numbers have decreased slightly, and she believes that one of the reasons for this is that we are addressing the issue and getting it out into the open and discussing.

The four issues to be aware of when someone may be at risk are:

Watching for changes

Hearing changes

Learning – situational

And sensing

Be vigilant for the signals that the person at risk is caring less about life and activities of daily living.

She concluded her brief with references to the resources available in our community including your GP, Helpline, Lifelines, Jewish House and Mental Health services

Christina from Sydney clinic discussed her role as the risk assessor for the clients that present at the Sydney clinic.  She discussed the two different therapy approaches used which are CBT and DBT.

The question and answer session which followed was very vibrant and Di Gaddin, who has been working tirelessly to upgrade the Gap using fencing, lighting, signage and telephones reaffirmed how important it is following her own family experience of tragedy at the Gap.

The important information that patrons went away with was the practical information about what to do and who to call when faced with a potential suicide.

The first point of call should always be 000, and then there are further facilities such as The Jewish House, Hatzollah and before the emergency presents, we hope that lifeline and the other help lines would be utilised.

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