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Newcastle’s Suicide Prevention Day walk to honour Brady

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A warning to Indigenous people – this story talks about and contains an image of an Indigenous person who has died.

Following a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Lifeline’s World Suicide Prevention Day Walk With Us will return to the Newcastle calendar next month.

The popular event, from Dixon Park to Merewether Baths, provides an opportunity for people to come together, remember loved ones lost to suicide and show support for action to prevent it.

And, Lifeline Hunter community development manager Pat Calabria is expecting a big turn-out, on Friday 9 September, after its absence in 2020 and 2021.

“The walks are a powerful way to reflect and create a sense of connection through lived experiences relating to suicide or suicide attempts,” he said.

“It raises awareness about suicide and ways we can all help with suicide prevention in our community.

“We walk at dawn to symbolise bringing conversations around suicide out of the shadows to break down the stigma that surrounds it.

“By coming together as a community, we can learn from other people’s experiences and be inspired by others’ actions.

“We can support those impacted by suicide or suicide attempts.”

He said Lifeline was receiving record calls to its 13 11 14 service as people dealt with the impacts of the pandemic, financial stress and other trauma.

“Our message on the day, and every day, is that Lifeline is here to listen to people in times of crisis and to offer hope,” Mr Calabria explained.

Danny and Jacqueline Flaus and their family and friends will again take part in this year’s walk.

The East Maitland couple lost their 14-year-old son Brady to suicide in 2018.

They’ve walked in previous events wearing Team Brady shirts.

However, in 2022, Mr Flaus has arranged for a surfboard to be created in Brady’s honour that will be raffled to raise funds for Lifeline Hunter’s suicide prevention services.

Donated by Jamie Carr from JCD Surfboards at Wickham, the board uses marine images from the Team Brady shirts that are also featured in a tattoo Mr Flaus has in memory of his son.

On the other side of the board are the words “It ain’t weak to speak”.

“We are Worimi people and Brady loved the water, so we have used images of a turtle, dolphin and manta ray,” Mr Flaus said.

“We are itching to walk again to remember Brady and connect with and support others who have lost someone to suicide.

“We want to remind people who may be struggling that they are not alone – there are people to listen, to have a yarn with.

“I hope the person who wins the surfboard takes it into the water, taking Brady with them into a place he loved.” 

The free event is again being supported by Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG).

There will be a coffee cart and breakfast is available thanks to the Lions Club.

“Walk With Us is free but registering prior helps Lifeline with event planning,” Mr Calabria said.

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

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

For links to register for the walk or to purchase raffle tickets, go to the Lifeline Hunter website – hunter.lifeline.org.au

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

If this story raises issues for you, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or 13 Yarn on 13 92 76.

Confidential suicide prevention support

  • Lifeline – Telephone: 13 11 14 l Text: 0477 13 11 14 l Chat online: www.lifeline.org.au
  • Lifeline face-to-face and video counselling bookings: 1300 152 854
  • 13 Yarn (13 92 76) – An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander run service for people who are feeling no good

World Suicide Prevention Day walk

  • When: Friday 9 September at 6am for a 6.30am start
  • Where: Dixon Park. Walk to Merewether Baths and back

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