Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention and Awareness Network

The Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention and Awareness Network (SSPAN) is an association of representatives from the community, government and non-government organisations.  We work closely with the community to raise awareness of suicide, promote recovery from mental illness, build individual and community resilience with the aim to reduce the impact of suicide in the Shoalhaven.

SSPAN’s success in being able to support such a diverse range of suicide prevention activities is effective because of the network’s ability to develop strategies in line with the needs of the community and the aims of government and non-government services.

These strategies are only possible through SSPAN’s close working relationship with the community and service agencies that provide both financial and ‘in-kind’ support. Without such support many of these programs would not be feasible.

We are always interested in encouraging active members to help reduce the impact of suicide in the Shoalhaven.  We meet monthly to collaboratively develop, plan and manage strategies that help promote individual and community resilience, wellness and targeted suicide prevention strategies.  If you would like to join us please email for more information.


 NEWS – We are updating our site and working with school students to help us better support the community!

SSPAN Young Writers’ Award 2016

SSPAN is pleased to announce its new project, the inaugural Young Writers’ Award 2016.

To mark October Mental Health Month, we invite young people from Years 7 to 12 in our local high schools to participate. It is free to enter and we have prizes and trophies for the winners. Enter now!

The Award will use the Mental Health Month theme as the focus for our young authors. This year’s theme is ‘Learn and Grow’.

Details can be found on the PosterEntry Form and Terms and Conditions. Information  sent out to schools and entries must be in by Friday 16 September 2016.

Schools may choose to use the Awards as part of a class writing task or students can enter independently.

SSPAN’s aims are two fold. One is our hope to inspire creative writing that focuses on positive resilience and well-being messages to share with the community. The ‘Learn and Grow’ message is also about reducing the stigma that often surrounds mental health and encouraging help seeking behaviours. The other aim is to recognise and foster the talent of our own young writers.

SSPAN is partnering with the Shoalhaven City Library. The Library will welcome students who may want to research and use the library wi-fi both within school hours and after school hours. The South Coast register is also keen to support the Award. And we have a panel of ten local writers eager to be our judges.

This year’s full theme is ‘Learn and Grow: learning about mental health empowers all of us to take an active approach to improving our own wellbeing and that of others’. There is more information at

Young authors looking for more information on mental health or ideas for their writing could also investigate, and

For more information, email Juan Alvarez and Fiona Stasiukynas or ring Fiona on 0412 051 444..


On August 11th 2016 we are hosting the Healthy Minds: Youth Health Wellbeing Expo!  featuring the award winning Sugarland.  400 secondary students, service representatives and community members will join us on the day.  By presenting Sugarland, a moving story about friendship in unexpected place, and their power to save a life, we hope to start conversations about how community can work more collaboratively together to reduce the impact of suicide in the Shoalhaven.

Helpmann Sugar social tile


30,000+ Cards printed as part of our ‘Operation Blue Card’.  If you would like to be a part of distributing the Blue Cards and help by giving feedback to refine the project, then check here for more info ‘Operation Blue Card’


We have updated our ‘About Us’ – now in Prezi form!

Check it out…


Got an idea on how to combat suicide in our community, need some help to refine a suicide prevention strategy? Check out our ‘Foundation Scholarship’ page.

Our most recent ‘Foundation Scholarship’ idea comes from Juan Alverez – a project that encourages creative writing with themes of hope and resilience.  Find out more on our Competitions page.

Here is an Acrostic piece from Juan who used our ‘Healthy Minds’ – Youth Help Seeking, Recovery and Resilience Strategy.

Healthy Minds (Acrostic)

Having doubts in what to do?
Envisaging something drastic?
Attempting to solve your problems?
Limiting your chances of a healthy life?
Trying to achieve the impossible without help?
Yes there are others to help, you only need to ask!

Many prefer to go their own way
Influenced by seeming seductions
Never asking for advice about enjoying life
Discovering far too late that there was a better way
Subjecting family and friends to a life of enduring pain


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++++++ Thanks to the SUPPORTERS of SSPAN ++++++