Out of the Shadows shines light on suicide prevention on the Mid North Coast

Members of the Port Macquarie-Hastings community came out of the shadows to remember those who have died by suicide on September 9.

The annual bereavement walk which highlights the need for suicide prevention and awareness is now in its seventh year and continues to gain momentum.

It provides a time and space to acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental illness have affected our lives and our loved ones. It is a time to mourn those people in our lives who have been lost to suicide.

More than 50 people gathered at the breakwall in Port Macquarie as the sun rose over the ocean, and suicide prevention and engagement manager for Lifeline Mid Coast, Kelly Saidey said it was a respectful morning.

“The 2018 walk went really well, we had a great crowd who came to walk and remember those who had lost their lives to suicide and to support those who were dealing with their own thoughts on suicide,” Ms Saidey said.

“We have received a lot of feedback the walk was a great chance for people to be among others while dealing with their own thoughts and remembering the past.

“Having that safe space where people can come a grieve the loss of someone they loved is powerful and in the safety of our group standing together is remarkably helpful to some people.”

Ms Saidey said grief is such a personal thing that events like the walk help people to deal with their feelings and emotions.

“Grief is ongoing and can take place in a range of stages and coming to something like our walk can help people on that process.

“It doesn’t make it any faster but knowing you aren’t the only one dealing with hard emotions can help.”

The World Health Organisation estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year – that is one person every 40 seconds. Up to 25 times as many again make a suicide attempt. 

In Australia 2,866 (ABS Data 2016) Australians took their own life. Research shows that some 65,000 think about attempting suicide each year. 

If you or someone you know needs help contact Lifeline’s emergency hotline on 13 11 14.

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