Regional Australia Bank has teamed up with Suicide Prevention Australia to support a PhD scholarship in mental health research, with the firm contributing to one recipient’s grant of around $105,000.
Katie McGill from the University of Newcastle has been named as Regional Australia Bank’s scholarship recipient, being given funding to undertake new research into self-harm.
Suicide Prevention announced the first six recipients for the Higher Degree Research Scholarships totalling $630,000 in Australian government funding, given along with additional funding from the bank.
The grants are the first to be awarded from the $12 million fund administered by Suicide Prevention Australia.
Ms McGill is looking to use data to inform best practice for hospital-presenting deliberate self-harm, with her project to explore deliberate self-poisoning in regional Australia.
“I was incredibly excited and proud to learn that I’d won this scholarship from the bank,” Ms McGill said.
“This funding will play a key role in supporting research in a real-world setting, and in enabling the study to demonstrate the different ways that health service data can be used to identify what works in suicide prevention, as relevant to the unique situations and circumstances of regional and rural Australians.”
As part of its involvement with the charity, Regional Australia Bank has also hosted a sold-out Charity Golf Day and Charity Dinner in Armidale, to help raise funds.
For Regional Australia Bank CEO Kevin Dupé, the bank’s role in supporting these scholarships is reflective of its culture, being a customer-owned organisation with a strong social conscience.
“Mental health affects more than just the relationship with the self,” says Kevin.
“It colours how we relate to everyone around us – and because we tend to live in small, tight-knit groups here in regional Australia, the wider impact of these types of losses can be devastating.
“Mental health is an issue that affects everyone on some level, so as an organisation we want to be proactive in raising awareness and tackling this issue for regional Australians head on.”
Nieves Murray, CEO, Suicide Prevention Australia said as funding helps to improve understanding, the key is to then translate that research quickly and effectively into suicide prevention policy, programs and services; ensuring an evidence-based approach.
“We’re delighted that Regional Australia Bank are on board, and we really admire the work they’re doing to address issues like suicide and support the mental health of our rural and regional communities,” she added.
“We look forward to working together with the bank to address what is a priority public health concern for all Australians.”
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