EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE: Ted Ferosa and Tamsyn Rosenberg from Alive.
EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE: Ted Ferosa and Tamsyn Rosenberg from Alive. DEIRDRE SMITH

Grappling with suicide

WRESTLING might not seem to have much to do with self-harm but that's just one of the devices that counsellors Tamsyn Rosenberg and Ted Ferosa use to get boys interested.

The pair run sessions for Alive, an organisation that works with suicide prevention and intervention.

They arrived in Stanthorpe on Saturday to take part in the Stanthorpe Gremlins special Alive round, held to help raise money for the sessions, and then conducted workshops at the club grounds over the following days.

The program helps them deal with trauma, pressure, anger and emotional loss.

"Young people have a lot of struggles, stress and ups and downs,” Ms Rosenberg said.

The wresting and Brazilian jiu jitsu workshops are conducted by Mr Ferosa and they are specially devised to appeal to young men.

"They are hard to engage,” Ms Rosenberg said. "They don't get involved if you don't do it in a way they enjoy.”

Lectures about suicide are not the focus, instead the pair concentrates on coaching to improve emotional resilience, confidence and life skills.

Ms Rosenberg said sporting clubs, such as the Gremlins, were an important way to reach young people.

As with schools, young people were three times more likely to suicide within three years when there had been a suicide within the group.

In addition to running annual sessions and working with the young people on the skills gained through the year, Alive also trains clubs to run sessions themselves.

Alive is involved at the top level of sport, working with the NRL and the AFL but Ms Rosenberg said they welcomed the chance to bring the same skills to the 'grass-roots level'.

Ms Rosenberg is a psychologist and counsellor and, after working in art therapy and school programs, started Alive five years ago in response to climbing suicide rates.

"It's all about getting in first and getting a scaffold around young people so they are strong emotionally,” she said.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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