Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and Lifeline Australia hope to unite communities across the country for their annual Out of the Shadows event, with commemorative gatherings locally and online to share hope for those struggling with their mental health and for those grieving loved ones lost to suicide.
Nine lives are lost to suicide every day, affecting millions of Australians. The impact of the pandemic has also heightened the need for crisis support, with Lifeline experiencing a 22 per cent increase in calls compared to pre-COVID levels.
Lifeline Australia chair John Brogden, said that this year’s Out of the Shadows event was particularly significant as the COVID pandemic continues to impact Australian’s mental wellbeing. ‘Australia has never needed Lifeline more than it does now and Lifeline is there for every Australian.
‘Those having suicidal thoughts or grappling with mental ill health can often feel alone, but they are never alone. Please reach out and get the help you need when you need it. It can save your life.
Through the darkness there is light
‘Out of the Shadows is a reminder that others feel the same way. We want to come together this World Suicide Prevention Day, to remind people that through the darkness there is light.
Australians can join Out of the Shadows and take action by walking together in solidarity. Local communities are encouraged to register for a COVID-safe local walk here.
People across the country can also visit the virtual reflective garden to plant a flower and leave a message of remembrance or support. This year, reflective garden visitors can plant a Waratah flower as a pledge of action to support every person in crisis and show others that they are not alone.
Mr Brogden said each life lost to suicide has an impact on about 135 people. ‘Out of the Shadows is an opportunity to reflect on the people behind the statistics who have their own stories and voices to share. It is a time for us all to remember that every life lost is someone’s brother, sister, son, daughter, friend or colleague.’
Help breakdown stigma and encourage connections
Out of the Shadows will also showcase the personal stories of nine individuals as part of Lifeline’s new Connect, Listen, and Talk initiative. The aim is to drive conversations around suicide prevention to help breakdown stigma and encourage connections.
‘It’s time to bring these stories out of the shadows. By sharing these stories, Lifeline hopes to help others understand and support each other and reduce the stigma around suicidal crisis,’ said Mr Brogden.
These stories are available to be viewed on the Out of the Shadow’s website.
Australians are encouraged to participate in Out of the Shadows and help create change through action in three ways.
Take a Walk – join a local Lifeline centres’ Out of the Shadows community walk, or register your own.
Plant a Thought – visit and plant a flower at the virtual reflective garden.
Connect, Listen & Talk – listen to or share personal stories of suicide bereavement, suicidal thoughts or attempt, and recovery.
Lifeline is Australia’s leading suicide prevention service with 40 crisis support centres operating around the nation. Lifeline crisis support officers listen without judgement and provide support and referrals. Lifeline provides hope and connection to those who are struggling with mental health with the goal to create a suicide-free Australia.