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Lifeline live panel discussion replaces Newcastle dawn walk


With COVID-19 lockdowns preventing World Suicide Prevention Day walks in Newcastle, Lifeline will go online with a panel discussion and a virtual garden for people to connect, listen and talk about the issue.

Lifeline Hunter Central Coast is hosting a lunchtime Facebook Live discussion on Friday 10 September, featuring a number of guest speakers.

Local executive director Robert Sams said the panellists – Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group CEO Aaron Johansen, Aboriginal community development officer Maree Edwards, senior peer worker Leanne Cawley and Lifeline 13 11 14 coordinator Sophie Anstis – represented different parts of the community.

“The annual Out of the Shadows dawn walks are a powerful and beautiful way to come together to reflect on and remember lived experiences relating to suicide or suicide attempts,” he explained.

“It’s disappointing they can’t go ahead right now but the local online event will help continue a very important community conversation.

“We can meet virtually to raise awareness about suicide and reduce the stigma that surrounds it.

“Our goal is always to prevent suicide and our event theme is ‘Connect, Listen, and Talk’.

“We need to connect and learn from other people’s experiences, listen and be inspired by others’ actions, and keep the suicide prevention conversation going within our communities.”

There is no need to book for the “live” panel discussion.

Simply join via the link

Mr Sams said Lifeline’s Virtual Garden could also help people come together and remember they were not alone.

“Many have a story to share of how they or someone they love has struggled,” he stated.

“Anyone is welcome to plant a flower in our garden to honour someone they’ve lost to suicide, to reflect on their lived experience, or to stand in solidarity as an advocate for mental health and suicide prevention.

“The Virtual Garden is another opportunity to bring suicide prevention out of the shadows and share a special moment of reflection, remembrance and hope.”

Nine Australians die every day by suicide and more than 65,000 Australians make an attempt each year.

It is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44.

Mr Sams said Lifeline was Australia’s leading suicide prevention service offering crisis support, individual counselling, bereavement support groups, suicide prevention training, and other community programs. 

“Lifeline is here to listen and to offer hope, and to help communities to feel confident to do the same,” he shared.

Lifeline services:

Telephone: 13 11 14 (24 hours)

Lifeline Text: 0477 13 11 14 (6pm – midnight)

Chat online: (7pm – midnight)

Face to face and video counselling bookings: 1300 152 854

If this story raises issues for you, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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