Suicide should be talked about openly with one another so that people who a grieving a loved one can express their pain, according to Mid Coast Lifeline life matters coordinator Lee-Ann Foord.
The public are invited to attend a memorial service to honour those lost to suicide at Windmill Hill on the Friday, December 23 at 6pm.
Ms Foord said the site at Windmill Hill is the perfect place to hold the event.
“It’s really out in the open which is where suicide should be, where people can express their pain,” she said.
The memorial service provides a space for people to remember a loved one lost to suicide; the happy times and the laughter, as well as those times when life was hard.
For those dealing with the suicide of someone they love, Ms Foord said it’s important people talk about their reactions to suicide openly and honestly, find support, make sense of what has happened and deal with their grief.
The first memorial was in 1998.
While Ms Foord can’t put a figure on the suicide rate in the region she said for the Mid Coast region it is ‘reasonably high’.
She currently has about 90 families who are in touch with the Mid Coast NSW Lifeline.
Ms Foord said as the region is partly rural, this might be a contributing factor as to why the rate is reasonably high.
“People who live on the land find it tough especially when you have natural disasters including floods and drought,” she said.
Christmas is a very happy time for some people but can also be very isolating for others who are separated from their family or have recently lost a loved one.
“Christmas is a hard time and what I’ve noticed with people who have come over the years is that a lot of their loved ones have died in the later months of the year,” Ms Foord said.
“I know of one which was on Christmas Day.”
Ms Foord has been in the role of life matters coordinator for about 10 years and said she finds her job extremely satisfying as she knows the work she does saves lives.
Part of her role is to support those who have been bereaved by suicide and she also teaches people how to talk to someone who is at risk of suicide.
A support group called Eclipse has recently been formed which is for people who have attempted suicide. The group provides a safe, closed and confidential space for those who attend.
For 24 hour crisis support people can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.