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Dear Amy,

It has only been six months since the launch of Conversations Matter – a suite of online resources for communities to have safe and effective discussions about suicide and suicide prevention. Already, the project is gaining momentum and support from community members and the suicide prevention sector alike.

During this time, the project team have been busy extending the reach of the existing resources and researching and developing further enhancements, particularly focussing on new resources for professionals and resources to support Aboriginal communities.​

The June issue of our newsletter highlights some key achievements during this time. We also take a peek at what’s happening over the next few months, including promotion through conventional and social media, developing partnerships with at-risk communities and continued resource development.

Consultation with Aboriginal communities yields new reports and forthcoming resources

​A key area of work for Conversations Matter this year is the development of resources for Aboriginal communities, which are expected to be available in the coming months.

In 2013, consultation forums were held to engage with relevant stakeholders across three Aboriginal communities. The aim was to identify key issues and priorities to be considered to ensure the resources are culturally appropriate and safe for Aboriginal people. 

The response to these forums was presented in the three outcomes reports, which were made available online on ‘Close the Gap Day’ in 2014. You can view the reports HERE

Building partnerships with at-risk communities

A key area of resource enhancement for this period will include consulting with peak organisations from at-risk communities, to inform the development of specific supporting information for these groups.

Last week, the Conversations Matter team travelled to Orange in Central Western New South Wales to provide the first Conversations Matter professional development session to the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) team. 

Additionally, Conversations Matter have recently been accepted to present at the National LGBTI Health Alliance ‘Courageous Voices’ conference, which is to be held 26-27 June in Sydney.

LISTEN NOW: Conversations Matter on the airwaves

Conversations Matter has been hitting the airwaves since December last year, participating in monthly interviews with the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA)’s suicide prevention program.​

You can listen to the project team discuss key issues such as how to start a conversation with someone you’re worried about, how to discuss suicide as a group, how to tell a child about suicide, and how to support someone bereaved by suicide.

Conversations Matter on social media

​Given that much of the community and the suicide prevention sector use social media to share useful information, Conversations Matter has been active in the social media sphere, generating conversation and linking people to resources through Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. To join the conversation, you can ‘Like’ the Hunter Institute of Mental Health Facebook page, follow us on Twitter at @HInstMH and use the hashtag #ConversationsMatter.

Willaura community supports Conversations Matter

​On Saturday 29 March, the Willaura community in rural Victoria took to the streets for their annual fun run. Almost 200 people participated in the 16 km fun run (almost half of their population) with the community event used as a way to raise awareness about mental health and available resources. 

Thanks to the support of community member and National Mental Health Commissioner Jackie Crowe, the organisers promoted the Conversations Matter resources on the day and kindly donated proceeds to our program.

We received great feedback from the fun run participants about Conversations Matter and they were kind enough to share a few photos and stories from the event, some of which you can view HERE

The Conversations Matter team at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health are pleased to have been invited to speak at the National Suicide Prevention Conference in Perth in late July 2014, hosted by Suicide Prevention Australia.

Registrations are still open. If you wish to attend, you can find more information here.

​Director of the Hunter Institute of Mental Health, Jaelea Skehan, recently presented on Conversations Matter at the 6th Annual Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the International Association for Suicide Prevention in Tahiti.

You can read about the Institute's involvement in the conference here.

You can also find a daily wrap-up of the conference in the 'Current News' section of the Hunter Institute of Mental Health website - http://www.himh.org.au/home/news-and-media/current-news

Headjam