CHANGING THE STIGMA: Craig Mendoza is co-facilitating an early suicide prevention program, encouraging 500 people to have 500 conversations in 500 days.
CHANGING THE STIGMA: Craig Mendoza is co-facilitating an early suicide prevention program, encouraging 500 people to have 500 conversations in 500 days. Rob Williams

Businessman's bid to shift stigma around suicide

A LOCAL businessman is working to spread awareness and teach others about the importance of having a conversation as part of an early suicide prevention initiative.

PRD Nationwide real estate agent and auctioneer Craig Mendoza has experienced the ripple effects of suicide after his brother took his own life five years ago.

Mr Mendoza said at that time suicide prevention programs were lacking and when police initially rescued his brother, the hospital turned him away.

"Obviously we were very upset, but also very angry. When the police intervened at that time, we were informed by a doctor and the police that when you go to a hospital, you never mention the word suicide or you will be turned away.

"That's exactly what happened to my brother and a few hours later he was found dead.”

Mr Mendoza said his brother's death was investigated by the coroner and through a lot of hard work from his family, they were able to make changes into systems and procedures within that hospital.

Now Mr Mendoza and his business is working with mental health and suicide prevention enterprise ConNectica to educate others through a project called Conversations 500.

"Our vision is to train 500 people to have 500 conversations in 500 days,” he said.

"Our goal is to shift the dial from costly suicide intervention to early suicide prevention.

"We're trying to change the stigma surrounding suicide, that it is OK to talk to someone and that there is really help out there.

"Don't wait for a crisis, gain the knowledge, learn the skills and develop the confidence to be ready, willing and able to have these conversations.”

Mr Mendoza will be delivering the program on November 1.

Contact Craig Mendoza on 0439990701 to find out more information or register your interest. Six spots are still available.

If you need help, contact Lifeline on 131114.



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