'Biggest killer of those aged 14-25 years': MP
AS a former policeman and speaker for mental health charity Beyond Blue, Llew O'Brien knows the importance of tackling the stigma around mental health.
The Wide Bay MP, who served for years as a road traffic cop in Queensland, said suicide was the biggest killer of people between the ages of 14 and 25 - the main reason he has spearheaded the campaign for a new Headspace in the Heritage City.
Health data from 2015 reveals the Wide Bay region had an interim rate of 20 suicides per 100,000 people, compared to the state rate of 16 per 100,000.
That same data found 75per cent of people who had taken their lives had not visited health services in the past year.
Mr O'Brien said suicide was a health issue that transcended "so many other things" in terms of importance and seriousness.
"It's hugely important the need to educate, identify and prevent mental health issues and suicide wherever we can," Mr O'Brien said.
"Part of my role as a policeman involved talking to a lot of people at Headspace.
"You get a very good picture of how much of a public issue it is, especially when a tragedy hits a small community."
Mr O'Brien said it was the work of people like Tricia and Tasos Barounis, who tragically lost their son Yannis last year, that would help save the lives of vulnerable people in the community.
The family has set up a website and app called Let It Out Now, aimed at helping teens release their emotions via confidential recordings.
A motion at the LNP State Convention in Brisbane earlier this month called on an incoming LNP state government to include mental health education sessions for all staff and students in high school.
Mr O'Brien said the motion would ensure educators would be properly trained to identify risk behaviours.
"It will help identify those who are most likely to slip through the cracks," he said.
"There are a lot of kids who are at risk of self-harm (and) a whole range of factors that lead to them not being properly monitored.
"So we need some sort of system that will protect them."