Midwest Yellow Ribbon established Nov 1998 by a group of people touched by suicide. Lee Morton had introduced the Denver, USA Yellow Ribbon to us. Finding that there were no groups locally, it was decided unanimously to start a group in Geraldton. Midwest Yellow Ribbon was created based on the suicide prevention group, Yellow Ribbon in the United States.
A committee was formed. Lee volunteered to be the Secretary/Treasurer and Kate Rickerby was nominated voted as chairman and George Desmond as vice Chairman.
The decision was made at the first meeting to distribute the cards and pamphlets to the region before Christmas. The card and pamphlet were amended to help people in the Midwest, these were recognised by Adelaide and USA. Funds were raised from local businesses and individuals in our community to print and distribute these through the Midwest Times to the region the Wednesday before Christmas.
1999 – 2007 At the request of the Education Department and the schools, a 20 min presentation initially by four young people on rotation was developed to go to talk to high school students about the help card. Also a 2 hour Listening Skills Workshop was developed with the help of the Samaritans from Perth.
2006 Mental Health First Aid Training was established. This two day training teaches people (18 years and over) how to offer initial support to adults who are developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health problem or in a mental health crisis, until appropriate professional help is received or the crisis resolves. The course curriculum is evidence-based, as informed by the MHFA Guidelines. 2007 the Youth MHFA training for those living and working with young people was commenced.
2013 the bereavement support group was established by Robyn Hunt, it continues..
In 2017, Yellow Ribbon members elected to change the groups focus to the life events and early warning signs, that may put someone at risk of mental health issues or suicide. With this new focus four members were qualified as instructors for Conversations for Life Training. Conversations for Life gives participants the tools to recognise when someone is vulnerable or becoming overwhelmed, well before reaching a suicide crisis point.
Looking forwards into 2018, the focus is on delivering Conversations for Life training to as many members of the community as possible. Yellow Ribbon is additionally offering Life Beyond Suicide support group sessions for those bereaved by suicide.