22 year old Nichole is a founding member of a national youth suicide initiative which runs in Victoria, the largest youth suicide prevention program using social media called “IN 2 LIFE”. It currently has 22,000 members. They also run the Here For Life program. Nichole serves on the management committee, moderates the programmes and supports young people personally. She is an absolute inspiration. Her work has literally saved dozens of young people’s lives from suicide.
IN 2 LIFE is a significant peer-to-peer youth suicide prevention programme that was launched in June last year by a group of young people in eastern Melbourne. This preventative programme currently uses Facebook as a platform to provide a safe, supportive and non-judgemental environment where young people can speak openly
Nichole works tirelessly on the group moderating day and night. Contacting and supporting young people, organising hospital visits promoting the site to recruit volunteers and promoting for young people to join.
Nichole assisted in forming an Advisory Board, comprised of mental health professionals and academics who acknowledge that young people are connecting and forming communities via social media and recognises the importance of engaging with youth where they are most comfortable. Melbourne University Associate Professor Alasdair Vance noted of his own practice, “Most of our counselling is now done online. Our clients will tell us things that they would never say face-to-face or on the telephone. I support this initiative 100%.”
In the three months from October to December 2012, over 1,000 young people were referred on to helplines and other counselling or psychological services, 12 reports were made to police for immediate intervention to prevent suicide and six mandated notifications were made to Community Services in support of children suffering abuse. Further statistics are included in the attached report.
Without Nichole’s involvement this project that is helping thousands of young people in Victoria would not have happened.
Nichole grew up in Casey, an outer Melbourne suburb with an extremely high suicide rate. Because so many of her friends were touched by suicide she decided to start this initiative.