On World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, Lifeline will call on Port Macquarie-Hastings residents to send the clearest signal yet to those who are struggling, that they are not alone.
The Annual Out of the Shadows event will go virtual in a show of support for those bereaved by suicide and those who are struggling with their own mental health.
Every year, Lifeline centres across the nation bring their communities together to observe World Suicide Prevention Day through Lifeline's Out of the Shadows events.
Local community walks traditionally take place at sunrise and create a safe place of acceptance to mourn loved ones lost to suicide and reduce stigma by bringing suicide out of the shadows and into the light. However, this year with physical distancing restrictions created by Covid-19, Out of the Shadows will be providing opportunities for connection virtually.
This year, Lifeline plans to send a powerful message of hope by encouraging residents to visit a virtual reflective garden to plant a flower and leave a message of remembrance or support, to show those who are struggling that they are not alone.
Lifeline Australia's chairman, John Brogden said coronavirus restrictions have heightened the need to demonstrate support and provide a safe space for those impacted by suicide to mourn and reflect:
"Losing a loved one to suicide is different to any other loss, the stigma surrounding suicide is still very real. Often those who are grieving or experiencing suicidal ideation can experience tremendous marginalisation.
"The COVID-19 restrictions are exacerbating isolation, there are many left to grieve or struggle with their thoughts alone. Through Out of the Shadows, we aim to ensure that people feel connected and aware of the support and compassion that is around them," Mr Brogden said.
In 2018, there were 3,048 lives lost to suicide in Australia, with each life lost leaving families, friends, colleagues and communities devastated.
More than 10 million Australians who have been directly impacted by the loss of a family member, relative, friend, colleague or fellow student.
To visit the virtual garden, go to www.outoftheshadows.org.au
Members of the community are also invited to safely hold private reflective sunrise walks to observe Out of the Shadows on World Suicide Prevention Day.
- You can phone Lifeline and speak to a Crisis Supporter on 13 11 14 (24 hours/7 days), or chat online at www.lifeline.org.au