Vigilance, persistence and a community-based focus must be at the centre of a national suicide prevention strategy, according to Wesley Mission following the release of the ABS 2014 data on causes of death by self-harm. The latest data shows that 2864 people took their own lives in 2014. The rate has increased from 10.9 deaths by suicide per 100,000 Australians in 2013 to 12.0 deaths in 2014. Wesley Mission which founded Lifeline in 1963 also provides suicide prevention training through Wesley LifeForce. It believes an enduring community focus will be an important factor in addressing Australia’s suicide rate. “Suicide does not discriminate: it touches all sections of society and calls for a whole of community, preventive approach,” Dr Garner said. “People need to know that they are not alone.

“Deaths can be prevented: simple effective interventions can make a difference and save lives.” The latest figures show that the rate is highest among males over 85 years. As our population ages more Australians will be living on their own and not by choice,” Dr Garner said. “We need connected and integrated communities that build awareness, skills resilience and capacity.  Too many of our fellow Australians are living without hope. Lifeline in Sydney answered more than 33,000 calls last year while Wesley LifeForce has trained more than 30,000 Australians in suicide prevention. The training helps people identify when someone may be at risk of suicide and then take appropriate action like linking the person to a qualified health professional. 

Wesley LifeForce has also helped establish and support more than 60 suicide prevention community networks across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote Australia. “Suicide prevention networks are one of the most effective ways of raising community awareness about suicide,” Dr Garner said. “The networks empower members to develop appropriate local suicide prevention strategies. They are also supported by suicide prevention education and skills training, including a new culturally Aboriginal and Torres Strait program. “The national training program helps people in the community recognise when someone they know may be at risk of suicide. The networks are also effective because they address the specific needs of a community at a grass roots level.”

Source: Press Release Wesley Mission Sydney

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Toddlers will be taught about sex, sexuality and cross-dressing in a controversial national program being rolled out at childcare centres and kindergartens next month. Educators will be encouraged to use dress-ups to explain cross-dressing to kids and may even take group tours of the opposite sex’s toilets as part of the Start Early initiative. Teachers will use material provided by Early Childhood Australia, and books such as the book Children’s Sexual Development and Behaviour: Pants Aren’t Rude, by Pam Linke. Suggestions in the book include teaching about sexuality in a positive way as a healthy part of life, ensuring children aren’t forced to kiss anyone they don’t want to and letting children know that “all parts of their body are good”.

Early Childhood Australia spokeswoman Clare McHugh said the program would reduce domestic violence because “rigid views on gender” were associated with violence and domestic violence. “Children are sexual beings and it’s a strong part of their identity, and it is linked to their values and respect,” she said. It comes after the federal government ordered a review of a Safe Schools program for secondary students including lessons on how to bind breasts and tuck in male genitalia. Ms McHugh said the program was designed to “use everyday moments and interactions” to teach respect, ability and making choices. “The underlying message is to value difference and be open to difference,” she said.

Dr Anne Kennedy, chairperson of Community Childcare Victoria, said there would be a “wide take-up” in Victoria. She said the material would be handled sensitively and parents would be consulted. “Educators deal with these issues all the time and the resources help them do better in the way they respond — in a developmentally and culturally responsible way,” she said.

Source: National Alliance of Christian Leaders

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There is an political battle going on in our nation for the rights of children which are now being contested by rainbow politics. If you’ve been following the news you will have also seen there is confusion in the government over the timing of the people’s vote on marriage. The controversial “Safe Schools” program, which teaches kids their gender can be what they want it to be, is being reviewed by the federal government. In Victoria, premier Daniel Andrews is wanting to force this program on all high schools. And if all this was not enough, news broke on the weekend of a gender and sex education program for toddlers in childcare centres to be rolled out nationally next month.

Children have a right, wherever possible, to their mother and father – something same-sex marriage makes impossible. Children also have a right to a childhood without sexualised programs now mooted to start in childcare. Meanwhile, Archbishop Julian Porteous remains before the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission. His crime? Distributing a booklet outlining basic Christian teaching on marriage. All of this is very serious and is the reason why we must all work to preserve marriage in the up-coming people’s vote. The same-sex marriage political agenda is reaching into every area of life. Sitting out of the political contest for ideas is not an option. Finally, thank you to everyone who prayed for my appearance on ABC1’s recent Q&A program. I felt encouraged and uplifted by your prayers.

Source: Lyle Shelton Managing Director Australian Christian Lobby

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Media reports suggest Good Friday football, already approved by the AFL Commission, will begin next year. This would be an affront which is neither necessary nor kind, according to Melbourne Anglican Bishop Philip Huggins. There is quiet and significant gratitude in our community for the way the AFL have always respected the sacred nature of Good Friday. For the code, this stands in stark contrast to the rest of the Easter holiday, Bishop Huggins says. AFL games fill most waking hours from Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday – except Good Friday. There is a game even at 1pm Easter Sunday, a traditional time to celebrate with family in breaking the Holy Week fast.

The AFL has wanted to rekindle its connection with fans, recognising some have felt alienated for various reasons. It is hard to overstate the sadness and the hurt should Good Friday be invaded by another game, Bishop Huggins says. “For some it would just be a commercial opportunity waiting to be exploited. For others (including many of the large cohort of Christians who are football fans), it would be deeply distressing. “I pray the tradition of Good Friday  is respected. A clear and positive statement to this effect from the AFL would be much appreciated.”

Source: Anglican News Service

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