A former Gunnedah woman who lost her father to suicide is returning home next month to present a free workshop on developing skills that may help identify and prevent these tragic events.

Fiona Livingstone’s life was turned upside down when her father Ian Carrington ended his own life on April 26, 2003. At that time, Fiona was an everyday member of the community with no skills or training in recognising mental distress or suicidal thoughts.

Ian Carrington’s sudden and tragic death took its toll on the whole family but it wasn’t until Fiona was introduced to the work of suicide prevention about 10 years ago that she realised how many lives could be saved if only people could be taught how to recognise and respond to possible signs.

With this firmly set in her mind, Fiona founded her organisation Find Hope in 2019 as she believed this was the most meaningful way she could contribute to suicide prevention.

On Friday, November 17, Fiona will return to her old hometown, where she had so many happy childhood memories, to present a LivingWorks safeTALK half-day workshop aimed at sharing the skills to identify someone with thoughts of suicide, how to have that life saving conversation, and how to connect them to a keep-safe connection for further help.

When Fiona speaks about suicide and suicide prevention she speaks from the heart and can easily relate to people who attend workshops. She believes that while extremely sad and tragic, her Dad has left a positive and life-saving legacy.

Fiona Livingstone will deliver a suicide prevention workshop in Gunnedah later this month.

“Suicide is a very sensitive subject, and it is something that will touch most people in some way in their lifetime,” Fiona said.

“When people want to learn about suicide and what can be done to prevent it, we believe the person leading the discussion needs to be sensitive, approachable, relatable, engaging, compassionate and skilled and possess strong industry knowledge as this combination of skills is required for people to feel safe to openly discuss suicide, and to learn how it may be prevented.

“We have worked with government and non-government organisations, including education, mental health, community services, disability, domestic violence, emergency services, medical practices, farming and agriculture, suicide prevention community groups and many more.”

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to prevent suicide and everyone has a role to play. You do not need to be a health professional to identify and respond to someone with thoughts of suicide.

Fiona’s father Ian was a dedicated member of Rotary during his time in Gunnedah and Fiona is grateful for the support of the Rotary Club of Gunnedah West and Gunnedah Shire Council for providing a venue for the workshop.

The NSW government-funded workshop will be held from 9am to 1pm at the Smithurst Theatre and is free to attend. This workshop is relevant for anyone in the community who is aged 18 years and older who would like to learn how to be alert to the possibility of suicide and how to respond in a meaningful and helpful way. The course is NESA accredited for all school teachers.

Bookings are essential and close five days prior to the workshop. To book, visit: trybooking.com.au/CLSCB

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