A sense of solidarity, the community coming together and people speaking out about a topic often perceived as taboo will be the experience of a community walk next month.
Lifeline Gippsland is hoping to cast a light on suicide and spread the word it can be prevented, when it invites community members to ‘Walk out of the Shadows’.
The walk, earmarked for 10 September, coincides with World Suicide Prevention Day and reinforces messages of hope, recovery, reflection and prevention.
Lifeline Gippsland crisis support manager Andrew Cawood said the walk allowed people to acknowledge they were saddened by suicide and encouraged others to seek help.
“This campaign is really about saying it’s okay to talk about suicide,” Mr Cawood said.
“Help is out there if people are feeling that way and for those who have lost loved ones, it’s a chance to remember them.
“We have quite a few people that join the walk who have lost loved ones to suicide and it’s an act of remembrance for them. It’s a way of them remembering those loved ones that they’ve lost.”
Lifeline hopes the walks, held throughout the country, will trigger conversations about suicide, which it has labelled a national emergency.
It has sought more government funding and urgent action on suicide prevention, which it says is roughly double the road toll.
Mr Cawood said a focus this year was on Australians ‘bouncing back’ from crises and in turn becoming empowered to find hope.
He encouraged locals to join the walk, to be held in Morwell, and “come out of a dark place”.
“We know when people talk about suicide, it makes them safer,” he said.
Lifeline Gippsland’s ‘Out of the Shadows’ walk starts from the Morwell Centenary Rose Garden and finishes at the Lifeline Gippsland offices, corner of Church and Fleming streets.
The walk kicks off at 9.30am on Saturday, 10 September and will be followed by a barbecue breakfast.
To register, visit
www.outoftheshadows.org.au or phone 5136 3500.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a personal crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.