Our focus over the years was in two areas:
The provision of education and training in suicide prevention to the community as a whole.
It was a firm belief that educating the community was one of the major strategies that could assist in preventing suicide. There were no training programs available in the 90’s. Raylee Taylor was a founding member of Care for Life and Chair, and as an educator at TAFE developed, in conjunction with the Gold Coast Institute of TAFE Suicide Prevention Working Party, the Youth Suicide Prevention Program, [YSPP]. This program was then launched in 1996 by the Qld Industrial Relations Minister, Santo Santora at the Gold Coast institute of TAFE. This program was then offered from the mid 90’s by Raylee throughout the Region & Gold Coast. The program was also made available to all Tertiary Institutions throughout Qld. A version was also produced for New Zealand [NZ] and presented at a counsellors conference in the North Island, NZ.
In 1998 funding was obtained by Raylee to conduct 12 x 7hr workshops for volunteers working with young people. This was completed over a 12 week period. Workshops continued to be offered over the next 20 years to local organisations at little or no cost. Part of the YSPP was an Awareness program which was aimed at service organisations and was distributed to 52 Rotary clubs in District 9640.
In 2004 the International Assoc. for Suicide Prevention [IASP] instigated World Suicide Prevention Day [WSPD]. As members we took this on board and have been hosting free WSPD Seminars for the Gold Coast Community since then.
In 2013 we developed a youth festival ‘Check it Fest’ as we recognised that WSPD was not reaching young people and we needed a forum to get messages to the younger age groups. At Check it Fest, the key messages are to ‘Check your Mates, Check yourself, Check Services’. Headspace have now taken this on and continued to run it as an annual event until 2019.
The development and provision of resources to assist in stemming the tide of youth suicide.
All projects were evidence based. Care For Life worked closely with and was a member of Suicide Prevention Australia, IASP [International Assoc. of Suicide Prevention] and closely liaised with AISRAP [Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention]. Some of the major projects developed included the below.
Our first Youth Info Card was launched in 1998 and was attended and launched by the State minister for Health Mike Horan, and the then Mayor, Gary Baildon. To date we have produced 2 million cards (13 updates have taken place) which have been distributed to schools and youth service providers to be passed on to young people. The Youth Info Multi Media was also produced and launched in 2003. This was comprised of a revamped Youth Info Card a Poster and Website.
‘Help When You Need It’ was also sponsored by Care For Life, [Sande Bamford a member sourced this resource] this resource was produced by noted Adolescent Psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, and was launched at a Parliamentary Briefing with the support of MP Dianne Reilly in 2004. This resource was then distributed with the support of Rotary sponsoring to local schools.
We also produced the Youth Activity card in 2000 and followed up with the School Holiday Activity Poster produced in 2005, sponsored by McDonalds. The Gold Coast City Council in 2006 became aware of the importance to the community of physical activity and community involvement and developed the ‘Active & Healthy’ set of programs for all Gold Coasters. With the council developing these programs there was no need for Care For Life to continue.
In 2003 a decision was made to produce a Youth info page in the White Pages Telephone Directory, at this time there was an Age Page, so why not a Youth Page. This was produced for 9 years. In keeping with technology in 2013 we then produced a Smart Phone App. This project has since been updated.
The ‘Referral Pathways Map’, for ‘Young People At Risk of Self harm/Suicide’. This was originally produced in 2000, under the Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy, Queensland Health. Raylee Taylor at this time was working for Qld Health under the program. This resource was launched in 2001 by Qld Health and the Regional Task force, along with the Gold Coast Youth Services Directory and the Gold Coast City Council. This resource proved to be very popular with service providers and three subsequent updates were undertaken by Care For Life, in 2006, 2009 & 2011. Care For Life gained the support of various organisations to fund the update these included Education Qld and General Practice Gold Coast.
Care for Life has always maintained strong ties with local networks and participated in local activities these have included: Homeless Connect, Wellness Festival, Gay Day, Early Psychosis Seminar.
Our founding member Raylee Taylor has made major contributions to many organisations. Raylee chaired the Gold Coast Youth Network for 12 years and was a Board member on the Gold Coast Drug Council and the Qld Drug and Alcohol Council. Raylee was also a member of the Reference Groups for the Family Relationship Centre; the Expanded Horizons LGBTI group; and a member of the Heads Up Project - a Drug and Alcohol and Mental Health Community Partnership. In addition, Raylee was a co-facilitator of the Bereaved by Suicide support group for 14 years, facilitated by the Salvation Army.
In 1998 Under the Qld Govt. Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy Raylee Taylor was employed as the first Community Network Support Officer on the Gold Coast, Raylee was able to combine working with the community to develop strategies.
Care for Life over the years has developed strong ties with Rotary and the City of Gold Coast Council who have supported wholeheartedly all our projects. Raylee Taylor was awarded an an Honorary Rotarion from the Rotary Club of Coomera Valley in District 9640, and set up a Suicide Prevention committee in the Late 90’s and assisted in the distribution of training and training material to the 52 clubs throughout the District. When needed they have provided funds for various projects.
All major projects have been presented at Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) conferences, these include: the YSPP, the Youth Info projects, Referral Pathways & the White Pages project.
In 2016, the Care for Life: Suicide Prevention Assoc. amalgamated with the Gold Coast Suicide Prevention Network (GCSPN). The GCSPN was set up in 2013 as part of Wesley LifeForce.
The GCSPN from 2013 to 2015 introduced a Service Finder card for the bereaved by suicide. This was supported and funded by the Qld Police and Ambulance Service. Also, in conjunction with Lifeline, GCSPN introduced the ‘Walk Out of the Shadows into the Light’ which is held as a World Suicide Prevention Day activity to support those bereaved by suicide. In 2016, the Gold Coast Pathways Response Service was developed. This service assists people bereaved by suicide on the Gold Coast. It offers visits by support workers, provision of resources and information and help with accessing local support services. This was supported by Lifeline.
It was felt that the two organisations had the same objectives and in a number of cases the same people were attending both groups. The amalgamation took place in March 2016 and the new organisation was named: Care For Life Suicide Prevention Network (CFLSPN)
CFLSPN looks forward to continuing to provide the Gold Coast with community events, resources, education and training opportunities.