Strengthening Communities for Life

The Tackling Regional Adversity through Integrated Care (TRAIC) program, is a Queensland Health initiative that aims to deliver suicide prevention and resilience building programs across regional Queensland. ConNetica has been engaged to deliver its 3 day Strengthening Communities Program in Mackay, Darling Downs, Mt Isa, Cairns and Hinterland and Townsville. The training sessions are funded by the Queensland Government.

Strengthening communities aims to build local community capacity to continue to deliver 2 of ConNetica’s innovative, practical and succinct suicide prevention training programs:


Conversations for life – Early Suicide Prevention (half day)

Conversations for life® provides participants with the knowledge, skills and confidence to have conversations with others who are starting to show signs of distress. This training program was developed by leading mental health expert Associated Professor John Mendoza and Dr. Martin Harris (Suicidologist).

This program provides participants with:

·       an awareness of the prevalence of mental health and suicide in Australia

·       an understanding of life events and social determinants that contribute to mental illness

·       the skills and knowledge to identify signs and debunk social myths 

·       tailored mental health conversation planning tools

·       problem solving and communication strategies that focus on mental health and suicide prevention, and

·       list of suitable referrals, support options and resources at local and national levels


Stronger Smarter Yarns for life – Early Suicide Intervention (one day)

This program has been developed with and for Aboriginal and Torres Islanders and non-indigenous people. Programs are always delivered by 2 facilitators, with one always being an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. This training was developed with Professor Chris Sarra – 2016 NAIDOC Person of the Year. Funding was provided by the Qld Mental Health Commission to create the Participant Training Program. This training provides participants with:

·       an awareness of the prevalence of mental illness and suicide in Australia generally and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

·       a strengths-based approach to social support and suicide intervention 

·       an understanding of the unique factors contributing to thoughts of suicide for indigenous people 

·       the skills and knowledge to identify signs and debunk social myths 

·       tailored indigenous mental health conversation planning tools



Written Testimonials

Cathy Lee, (Youth Empowered towards Independence) FNA areas Bamaga, Weipa and Cooktown

 “I’ve been to many suicide prevention training as a requirement for my work with vulnerable people, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. The training has always focused on the pointy end of suicide, the crisis points.

Having been exposed to numerous suicides which have included deaths and attempts I had become sceptical of training, not saying it no longer has a place but rather there had to be something else that was more relevant and preventative. When I was asked by our HR department if I would be interested I looked through the flyer and what trigged my attention was about conversations and preventions.

This is a common-sense approach to suicide prevention, it takes it back to grass roots levels, before the state of the person escalates into a crisis. A common-sense approach that provides practical tools and skills to have a conversation that could be potentially awkward – but now has the potential to assist the person who is distressed to reach a positive and healthy outcome. 

The Conversations for Life and Stronger Smarter Yarns for Life programs inspire me as a healthcare professional to not only provide training and to throw the net out, but to apply these strategies in my everyday work and private life. Marion and Toby are AWESOME, warm, friendly, inclusive trainers. Well done!” Cathy Lee, (Youth Empowered towards Independence)

Anne Doyle, Acting Indigenous Mental Health Coordinator, Darling Downs Hospital Service

“Thank you for bringing us this training. Conversations for life and Stronger Smarter Yarns for life are programs that fill a gap in suicide prevention.

 As an Aboriginal woman, having this training which I intend to take to the community gives me hope and excites me. If I am able to pass on the skills to people to give them the confidence to have those difficult conversations and potentially saves lives – it will be wonderful.  

 We have to stop our loved ones seeing suicide as any sort of option and these programs go a long way toward that.  I cannot express enough thanks to Marion and Toby, our wonderful facilitators. I personally cannot wait to start the planning to implement this training, especially in the community.”

 Anne Doyle, Acting Indigenous Mental Health Coordinator, Darling Downs Hospital Service

Katrina Rutherford, Research Worker CQ University

 “I can’t speak highly enough of the Conversations for Life and Stronger Smarter Yarns for Life program!! Addressing the important issue of suicide prevention, particularly focusing on the early intervention stage, it emphases that we can all play a role in these conversations for life. The strength based approached was excellent and rich, conversations and learnings happened between all participants. Marion and Toby facilitated the sessions with skill and passion. The program is an excellent mix of evidence and practical application. Easy to apply with staff at boarding schools, students and families about feeling confident and comfortable to have those yarns.”

Dayle Osborn, Nurse Navigator, Darling Downs

 “I have just completed the ConNetica training programs for Conversations for Life and Stronger Smarter Yarns for Life. I have been involved in other service programs addressing the issue of suicide at a health clinician response level. I am impressed by the model supporting this program. Talking suicide prevention back to the most basic human connection of having a conversation or a yarn with someone. Supporting communities to come together, to find strength and resilience. Helping individuals to not feel that suicide is considered as a solution for their overwhelming distress. I see this program to be delivered at a grass roots level with incredible potential for real change.