SOKS and suicide prevention

Each year, twice as many people die by suicide as they do on our roads. Yet governments spend twice as much on road safety as on suicide prevention. Community suicide prevention initiatives are therefore more important than ever to help make a difference to this funding imbalance.

Even more important still is youth suicide prevention. Studies reveal alarming similarities1: nearly one in twenty young people attempted suicide in the year leading into the study. Extrapolated to 24,000 secondary school students on the Central Coast, that potentially equates to over 1,000 young people who place themselves in life-threatening situations every year. This is more than a cause for alarm; this is a cause for action on behalf of young people and their families on the Central Coast.

Gosford North Rotary Save Our Kids from Suicide (SOKS) Project Team has been successfully assisting Central Coast communities reduce young people’s life-threatening behaviours for the past seven years. SOKS’ focus remains on suicide prevention which is more specific than mental health awareness and well-being. SOKS has been – and continues to be – determined to take practical measures to assist young people struggling with life’s issues who may consider suicide as a solution. SOKS’ objective is to teach skills to be able to identify and approach a young person who may be contemplating suicide.

Thanks to our partnership with the Lifeline Central Coast Training Team, SOKS has sponsored more than 3,600 local caregivers since 2012, helping them to gain the skills of suicide prevention and intervention. Post-delivery research with participants has determined that, as a result of this training, 658 lives have been kept safe from life threatening behaviours and they are only the ones we know about.

Suicide prevention training has been delivered into 34 of the 36 secondary schools on the Central Coast. Our ultimate goal is to create as many suicide-safer secondary schools as possible. When a school reaches suicide-safer status, this then enables us to deliver suicide prevention training to that school’s selected Year 11 students. As one student said of the training, “Everyone should get the chance to know how to potentially save someone’s life.”

SOKS’ youth suicide prevention goals are three-fold:
1. to continue to deliver our suicide prevention programs to schools and communities on the Central Coast
2. to build suicide-safe secondary schools with a high quota of trained staff and parents
3. to then be able to deliver suicide prevention training to senior students

With skill-specific training, caregivers are alert to invitations to help, have the confidence to respond, and the ability to refer for further help. Caregivers are not diagnosticians: they are significant community members who have prepared themselves by taking suicide prevention awareness education. The guiding principle is that the more suicide-aware caregivers who receive appropriate training, the greater the potential for them to detect more of those who may be somewhere on a risk continuum: self-jury with no suicidal intent along to self-harm with suicidal intent as well as those non-self-harmers with suicidal ideation.


‘Most people who think about, attempt or even complete suicide do not really want to die: they just want the pain and suffering they are experiencing to end, and almost everyone gives some clue or warning about their desperation.’ (Lifeline 2016).

1 Longitudinal Study of Australian Children annual statistical report 2016; Second Australian child and adolescent survey of mental health and wellbeing report 2015


$ 0 K
Funds Raised by SOKS
to assist suicide prevention and youth enrichment programs on the Central Coast.
funded by SOKS and run by
Lifeline Central Coast.
attended SOKS funded workshops across the Central Coast.
0 +
Lives Saved
from survey results of ASIST, safeTALK and Self-harm aware workshop respondents between 2014-21.