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Pulling an important topic out of the shadows

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An awareness campaign this Thursday will shine a light on an issue that often lies in the shadows.

National charity Lifeline is urging the community to take to the streets at sunrise to send a message of hope on World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September).

“Every year, Lifeline centres across the nation bring their communities together to observe World Suicide Prevention Day to create a safe place of acceptance to mourn loved ones lost to suicide, and to support those who are struggling, to send a message that they are not alone,” Lifeline’s Regional General Manager, Julie Wicks, said.

“The event is an opportunity for individuals and businesses to demonstrate their support in reducing the stigma around mental health and suicide and offer their respect and empathy to those mourned and to those who grieve.” 

Ms Wicks added that, while this year would look different to its predecessors, it was more important than ever.

“It is suffice to say mental health in general has never been more of a topic of conversation as every single one of us is affected by the pandemic in one way or another,” she said.

“We cannot host our annual walk due to the pandemic so, this year, we are encouraging virtual Out of the Shadows events.

“This means creating your own walk on 10 September.

“Our team here at Lifeline in Newcastle will be holding a remembrance reflection via Facebook at 5.45am on Thursday; essentially, people can join in by watching this refection before they set off on their own walk.

“All through the COVID-19 outbreak we have been encouraging the community to connect with those they think may be doing it tough.

“Together, we have the power to make a positive difference to the lives of others.”

Lifeline is also encouraging interested persons to visit a virtual garden, where you can leave a message of hope.  

“You can plant a flower of remembrance, scroll over the flowers, and read through the tributes,” Ms Wicks said.

“At our local walk we would normally hand out flowers for people to place to acknowledge those lost to suicide [but] this garden is a beautiful alternative.”

There is also an option to donate with your flower tribute. All donations will go toward supporting local services.

If you need support, call on Lifeline on 13 11 14 anytime or text 0477 13 11 14 between 6pm and midnight.

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