GP division tackles rural youth suicide

A suicide prevention taskforce, facilitated by the division, has organised monthly awareness events, a drop-in centre, a mental health outreach program and a psychologist to work with the town’s youth on self-esteem issues.

While the number of suicides in the past two years – placed at 16 by residents – has been disputed by local police, GP Connections chairperson Dr Pat Stuart said the division hoped to be able to further improve prevention measures when it begins operating as Darling Downs Medicare Local in January next year.

“There is enormous need for services here in areas like aged care, chronic disease, Indigenous health, and with the funding and scope to act as a Medicare Local we can really make a difference,” she said.

Dr Stuart said the work with the taskforce had focused on engaging the community and relied heavily on the willingness of local GPs to take a lead role.

“The GPs in the area are