Winners were announced at an award ceremony that took place at the Silos Hotel Launceston, on Friday 3rd of September 2021.

The sixteenth LiFE Awards for Tasmania reached a record 20 nominations across the four award categories. Again, this year the nominations were of an incredibly high standard and really did provide an insight into the really diverse range of activities that are occurring across the state.

Suicide has a profound effect on the Tasmanian community and there are countless people who work tirelessly across our state in the areas of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention. After the challenges of having to postpone the Awards in August it was great to be able to have so many people together to recognise the amazing work that has been happening in suicide prevention.

2021 LiFE Award winners were:

Outstanding Contribution LiFE Award was awarded to joint winners, The Break O’Day & Bicheno Suicide Prevention Trial Site Working Group, and to Lorette Venables.

Lorette Venables has enjoyed a rich and diverse career spanning 30 years, as a mental health nurse dedicated to helping others to see their value and much needed role in life, via an innate ability to connect with others and a genuine love of the work she does to prevent the suicide of an estimated 4,000 plus high- risk clients in Tasmania, so far. Lorette has dedicated herself to suicide prevention within our community and remains in contact with many of the individuals and families she has assisted during her extraordinary career. Lorette has been responsible for several innovative programs being implemented within the community that have directly prevented suicide, raised awareness of how to approach and assist those at high risk, and providing continued support in recovery.

Since 2018, the Working group have developed strategies and activities to assist with the reduction of self-harm, promote help seeking behaviours and help reduce stigma associated with mental illness in their region. They have developed a Community Suicide Response Committee (CSRC) that has a focus on prevention.

The Working Group have worked on numerous activities aimed at:

  • Training 126 community members as mental health champions reducing stigma
  • Promoting help seeking behaviours
  • Hosting workshops on Self Care, Resurrected PTSD for Veterans, and families, LGBTQIA+, mental health week
  • The Safe Place Mobile Outreach that visits throughout Break O’Day and Bicheno to offer information on what mental health support services are available in our community.

Communities in Action for Suicide Prevention LiFE Award was awarded to Sacred Heart Catholic School at Geeveston.

Sacred Heart Catholic School Geeveston is a K-6 co-educational school situated in the Huon Valley.

The school has meaningful and extensive measures in place to create awareness, assistance, and exceptional standards of mental health support for their students, families and staff.

Their efforts during the 2019 Huon Valley bush fires provided remarkable support to the school’s students, families, staff, but was extended to the entire community. Through the provision of care packages, financial assistance and emotional support community wide. Efforts which were acknowledged within community forums and by Minister Jeremy Rockliff.

The school provides mental health and wellbeing awareness and action that greatly supports its entire school and wider community – minimising the effects of poor mental health and reduces the associated levels of suicide within their rural area.

Best Practice in Suicide Prevention in a Workplace LiFE Award was awarded to Stubbs Constructions.

Stubbs Constructions has been actively involved, over many years, with informal suicide prevention and are an ongoing supporter of the building and construction OzHelp program. During the COVID-19 stand downs, Stubbs Construction realised they needed to formalise their involvement with employee mental health and wellbeing, to provide ongoing support and increase their employee’s resilience. They developed a Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Community Action Plan (CAP) which included the following essential elements;

A commitment from directors, senior leaders and supervisors to make visible, long term commitments to mental health throughout the Stubbs worksites.
encouraging all employees to have a voice; identifying champions and supporters, providing training and resources to implement the plan and provide ongoing support ensuring sufficient time and resources are allocated to implement the plan and provide ongoing commitment to the strategy.

Outstanding Contribution to Suicide Prevention by a Young Person LiFE Award was awarded to Gabrielle Dewsbury.

For the past 3 years Gabrielle has been an active volunteer and advocate for positive mental health and suicide prevention. As former school student at St Patricks College, Gabrielle was instrumental in organising a student wellbeing committee, which has continued to thrive and impact positive change for the last two years.

Gabrielle was also instrumental in organising a mental health team within scouts called “Health is Wealth” Within a small team she led regular meetings to develop a youth survey, analyse and discuss the results with stakeholders and MPs, and finally develop workshops. They have since partnered with Beyond Blue with the goal of expanding nationally.