Out of the Shadows: Preventing Suicide

World Suicide Prevention Day, R U OK? Day and Lifeline’s “Out of the Shadows” event are all held on September 10 each year. Their core message is that we can all do our part when it comes to suicide prevention in our community and there’s no shortage of ways to get involved. Every day is the right day to check if somebody in your world is struggling with life’s ups and downs.

Over the last few years, Flourish Australia has made a large commitment toward suicide prevention. Prior to COVID-19, our staff members were taking part in an intensive two-day prevention course called Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) where they learned how to engage in respectful conversations about suicide and offer support.

“I believe the ASIST course to be a hugely valuable and recovery-focused course that goes into greater depth about listening to suicide stories, sitting with pain, and finding connection to life and hope,” said Kara Lyons, who has taught suicide prevention courses to hundreds of her fellow Flourish Australia staff members.

Flourish Australia also supports Lifeline in their important work. In past years, our various service teams would go for walks and host BBQs to promote awareness for Lifeline. While Lifeline centres will still celebrate “Out of the Shadows” in 2020, this year their events will be held virtually.

“We have adjusted to COVID-19 by offering our training, Suicide Bereavement Support Groups and Eclipse Support Group via ZOOM,” said Anne Rogers, Suicide Prevention Team Leader of Lifeline Macarthur and Western Sydney. “This year for the Out of the Shadows event we’re asking people to do their own walk and send in a picture showing the steps they’ve done. We’ll also do a walk with Lifeline staff and stream it on Facebook.”

2020 has been a challenging year and it’s become even more important to stay connected. If you sense that something’s not the same with someone you know, trust that gut instinct. Make time to listen, encourage action and check in with them regularly. By simply being there for somebody who’s struggling and encouraging them to access appropriate support you can make a positive difference. Such conversations save lives.

“We need to keep suicide prevention front of mind, and dig deep into the well of hope,” says Mark Orr AM, Flourish Australia’s CEO.

If you or someone you know are struggling, Flourish Australia provides a wide variety of practical, recovery-based, non-clinical support. You may benefit from the support of a Peer Worker or Mental Health Worker, employment assistance, housing services or accessing safe and friendly places to socialise.

Grant J Everett, Panorama Magazine


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