2017 Out of the Shadows Walk | photos, video

IT was a morning of quiet reflection. Of coming together to remember who we have lost. And making a vow to make a difference to those who might be struggling.

The 2017 Out of the Shadows Walk hosted by Lifeline Mid Coast was a moving and powerful event that highlights the responsibility we all have in helping prevent suicide.

And it can be as easy as asking three simple words – Are you OK?

Every year around the world more than 800,000 people die by suicide. And up to 25 others make a suicide attempt.

The statistics are heart-breaking.

Leanne Foord said suicide impacts the entire community.

“Behind these statistics are individual stories of those who have for many different reasons questioned the value of their own lives,” she said.

“Each one of these individuals are a part of a community and have a network of family and friends and work colleagues and school mates.

“Others may be less well-connected and others might be quite isolated. Community has an important role in supporting those who are vulnerable.

“As members of our community it is our responsibility to look out for those who may be struggling.

Life is precious and sometimes precarious. Taking a minute to reach out to someone, a complete stranger, a family member or friend can change the course of their life. - Lifeline's Leanne Foord.

"Check in with them and encourage them to tell their own story at their own pace. Offer a gentle word of support and listening in a non-judgmental way can make a difference.

“People who have lived through suicide tell us that the words and actions of others are important.”

Mrs Foord said many individuals do not want to die, but want someone to intervene and stop them – someone to ask them whether they are OK.

They often reflect sadly that no-one asked.

“Individuals telling their stories are inspirational,” she said.

“Almost universally they that if someone had taken a minute, the trajectory they were on could have been interrupted.

“Life is precious and sometimes precarious. Taking a minute to reach out to someone, a complete stranger, a family member or friend can change the course of their life.”

For support, contact lifeline on 13 11 14.

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