The inception of the 'Connected Communities Project'

The Connected Communities Project was founded by Ann-Maree Hartley, a Psychologist and Suicidologist, as a result of her dedication to reducing rates of suicide and attempted suicide in rural areas.

Suicide rates in rural and remote areas of Australia are significantly higher than the national average and very remote regions have suicide rates more than double that of major capital cities. With the gap not closing, Ann-Maree has formed this project, in consultation with the local community, to meet the specific cultural needs that exist in rural areas.

Initial goals of the project include:

  • Enhancing community awareness and understanding, as well as reducing stigma associated with suicide.
  • Building the communities capacity to respond to suicidality and self-harm.
  • Engaging with a range of stakeholders to enhance their capacity to respond to and prevent acts of suicide and self-harm.
  • To identify gaps in the provision of local services and meet the needs of the community by either providing these services or advocating and lobbying for these services.

This project was initially funded by the award winnings from Ann-Maree's Don Ritchie Suicide Prevention Award (Individual Category) 2013, however ongoing projects have been offered due to the dedication of the Connected Communities Team and local volunteers.

The project is in continual development so any community contributions or service partnerships and donations will always be welcomed.

If you would like to contact us regarding this please email our team on