Showing off the new service finder cards are (from left) Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network president Ron Petterson and treasurer Paul Burke, with Airlie Beach, Cannonvale and Bowen McDonald's owner Mike Muller, Rotary district governor nominee and Airlie Beach Rotary member Merewyn Wright and Proserpine Rotary president Harry Benjamin.
Showing off the new service finder cards are (from left) Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network president Ron Petterson and treasurer Paul Burke, with Airlie Beach, Cannonvale and Bowen McDonald's owner Mike Muller, Rotary district governor nominee and Airlie Beach Rotary member Merewyn Wright and Proserpine Rotary president Harry Benjamin. Monique Preston

Help on hand with Whitsunday Service Finder Cards

ACCESS to vital services has been made easier with the roll-out of Whitsunday Service Finder Cards, listing local and national suicide prevention and crisis support numbers.

Whitsunday Suicide Prevention Network launched the wallet-sized cards on January 18 to compliment the recently established network website.

The cards will be distributed in Airlie Beach, Jubilee Pocket, Cannonvale, Proserpine and surrounds, Bowen and Collinsville and Ayr and Home Hill.

While national helpline numbers will remain the same on all cards, each area will receive cards with localised service numbers such as general practitioners, psychologists and emergency services.

Network president Ron Petterson said one of the biggest problems identified by the organisation had been people seeking help did not know who to call or who's available.

"There are a lot of services in the local region that can support people, they just don't know about them or where they are or how to contact them,” Mr Petterson said.

The project was funded and supported by the network, McDonald's Whitsunday and Burdekin, the Rotary Clubs of the Whitsunday and Burdekin Regions and Kylie Allen Graphic Design.

Whitsunday Service Finder Cards for Airlie Beach, Jubilee Pocket, Cannonvale, Proserpine and surrounds.
Whitsunday Service Finder Cards for Airlie Beach, Jubilee Pocket, Cannonvale, Proserpine and surrounds. Claudia Alp

The network put about $2500 toward the project.

McDonald's Airlie Beach, Cannonvale and Bowen owner Mike Muller contributed $750 matched by McDonald's Ayr and Townsville owner Paul Rissman.

"We employ about 200 staff and there wouldn't be a kid (among them) who doesn't know, or know of, someone who has committed suicide,” Mr Muller said.

"They need to get the right counselling at the right time.”

The Rotaries of Proserpine, Bowen, Home Hill and Ayr donated $300 each while Airlie Beach Rotary contributed $500.

Rotary District 9550 district governor nominee and Airlie Beach Rotary Club member Merewyn Wright said it was "a no-brainer” when they were approached to support the project.

"Airlie Beach (Rotary) has been involved in suicide prevention programs in the past. Five-hundred dollars from each club is a small price to pay if you're going to save a life,” Ms Wright said.

This sentiment was echoed by Proserpine Rotary president Harry Benjamin.

"I had 35 years on the road as a paramedic. I went to far too many suicides,” Mr Benjamin said.

"Everybody should be involved in this sort of thing. It (suicide) is a thing that shouldn't be happening, but it does.”

Mr Petterson said the network was hoping to roll out at least 200 stands across the regions with 20,000 cards to be distributed in each area.

"If we can put it in 200 locations across the Whitsunday Burdekin region. Hopefully someone might see it at the point when they need to see it,” he said.

Cards will be placed in high traffic businesses including all McDonald's stores, the Tourism Whitsundays office, Bowen Subway and Red Rooster.

Locations will be listed on the network's website.

Any high traffic businesses interested in displaying Service Finder Cards should email WSPN on info@wspn.org.au.


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