GROUND breaking support group ECLIPSE is vital to mental health survivors and is being used to help people in the Hastings.
The of its kind in Australia, it has been designed for people who have attempted suicide, forming after a forum held here Port Macquarie in July, 2012, by the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Suicide Prevention.
Lea Harvey is a founding facilitator of the group and told of her experience at the forum.
"I was sitting with two brave and engaging women where I was to learn later in the conversation that they have had deep sad losses to suicide," she explained.
"They were looking for answers and they were wanting help for those out there in our community who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.
"These two women encouraged me to speak. Without knowing, they gave me the strength and a voice to tell my story and to convey that we, the survivors of attempts of suicide, need to be heard, need help and support."
This simple act gave Lea the confidence to knock on Lifeline’s door.
If ordinary people like me don’t stand up and say we matter, we need to be heard and we need help, then old enemy means that stigma and discrimination will keep thriving.Lea Harvey
"After a meeting with the CEO of Mid Coast Lifeline Catherine Vaara and Lifematters coordinator Lee-Ann Foord in the September of that same year, I found that I was talking to people who not only understood my passion but shared my vision of helping those who need support in their journey after a suicide attempt," she said.
A hard working committee was formed with a mission statement - Our aim is to offer care and support, encourage strength and growth for a life worth saving - and a vision statement - Together, building resilience for a life worth living.
It saw the realisation of ECLIPSE being launched in July, 2016, and the very first group of participants attended the eight week journey on August 30, 2016.
"We can assure anyone that is thinking about enquiring that it is a safe environment, confidential, non-judgemental and somewhere you can be yourself," Lea said.
"Remember this is a support group where people will listen.
"As a passionate survivor who wants to see change, I put my hand up to help wherever I could with ECLIPSE and those who need support.
"I still struggle. I call myself a work in progress and I am still learning. I feel by educating myself about my diagnosis helps me understand.
"Reaching out to someone who has walked in your shoes, travelled your path and will understand your situation is something we crave for.
"If ordinary people like me don’t stand up and say we matter, we need to be heard and we need help, then old enemy means that stigma and discrimination will keep thriving."
For more information on the group and when the next round of participants will be realised, please ring Kelly Saidey or Lee-Ann Foord at the Lifeline office on 6581 2800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org