AUSTRALIA: ANU Rolls out Sources of Strength Suicide Prevention Program to Canberra Schools

June 26, 2017

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The Canberra Times

The Sources of Strength youth suicide prevention program is being pilot tested in Australia. Eight schools in Canberra will serve as trial sites for the program, which aims to prevent suicide and promote mental health among young people through help-seeking and social connectedness. In collaboration with Sources of Strength founders in the U.S., Australian National University (ANU) and the Black Dog Institute are working together to test out the program. “The ultimate aim is preventing suicide,” said ANU Center for Mental Health Research Deputy Head Phil Batterham. “What we’re trying to do is increase connectedness among peers, using peer strength to improve mental health outcomes.”  According to Batterham, the program’s upstream approach encourages young people to adopt healthy coping mechanisms early in life so that they are better equipped to handle future challenges. Students will be encouraged to assess and develop their strengths, and form connections with peers and trusted adults. “So when they’re having difficulties they have someone to go to that they trust, focusing on what strengths they have now and how they can use those going through a rough time,” he said.

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