Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Friday, 13 September 2013

Out of the Shadows, Into the Light 2013

Suicide Prevention is a cause which can never sleep.  Each and every day, people are working to help those at risk of suicide and to offer support to those who have been bereaved by it.  Just the same, here in Australia this week marks three separate events designed to bring suicide prevention into public awareness.

Tuesday September 10th was World Suicide Prevention Day.  I am not so naive to think that we can eliminate suicide completely, but we can certainly try.

Thursday, September 12 was RU OK day.  A question we should be asking every day.

Here in Australia suicide is still the leading cause of death for people aged under 44.  More people die from suicide each year than are killed on the roads.

Many of you will know that I do voluntary work with Lifeline Australia, a telephone crisis line.  Lifeline believes that suicide is often preventable, and that help can be only a phone call away. 

In 2011 Lifeline began  national suicide prevention walks - 'Out of the Shadows and into the Light'.  Symbolically, the walks begin before dawn and continue into the growing light.  The aim is to help raise awareness of suicide prevention and encourage people to seek help.  In addition it remembers those lost and those bereaved by suicide.

I couldn't attend the first walk, but went last year and made a commitment to myself that I would line up this year as well.  Which saw me heading off before dawn this morning.  

It was cool (some would say chilly) but beautiful.  There were more people at the walk this year, and I hope that numbers continue to rise.  This year we started from our National War Memorial and did a loop down Anzac Parade towards Lake Burley Griffin and back to the War Memorial.  Our Parliament House is directly opposite on the other side of the lake.























Some numbers which may be useful for Australian readers include:
Lifeline 1311 14
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

100 comments:

  1. Thank you, on behalf of some who often don't know how to say it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dinahmow: I get a lot more out of my volunteering than I give.

      Delete
  2. A good walk for a good cause. Thank you. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Geo.: It was wonderful to see so many people out before dawn.

      Delete
  3. From the research I have done it seems Australia is way ahead of other countries when is comes to talking about mental illness about suicide.I think the rest of the world could follow your example.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Birdie: We aren't good here either. There are huge gaps in our services for people with mental illness and still too much stigma. Small steps are being made, strides are needed.

      Delete
  4. Bless you for taking part and doing your bit to help.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It is such a hard subject to address. My daughter's neighbor's beautiful 20 year old son took his life a month ago, and it was extremely hard to know how to express condolence. There seemed to be no reason, and no warning for it to happen.

    Thank heavens that there are people like you who give their time and compassion to those who reach out for help. Bless you, EC.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: There are no right words. And certainly no magic ones. I wish there were. I am so sorry is all I can manage some days.

      Delete
  6. It's sad that so many people feel life is not worth living, I didn't realise the figures were so high in young people.
    I admire people who work in the lifeline crisis centre, not a easy job to do, it is so worthwhile.
    Merle........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merlesworld: The numbers are frightening aren't they? And suicide is under rather than over reported.

      Delete
  7. I'm NOT okay. And you know I'm not joking. Thank you for existing for people like me.

    I'm also amazed when someone I know actually leaves her house when she doesn't HAVE to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lotta joy: People like us. And I do get more out of my work with Lifeline than I give. A lot more.
      Which explains why/how it gets me out of the house.

      Delete
  8. Good for you. Obviously, you not only talk the talk; you walk the walk. And that's not being flippant. You really do. Bless you. I'm sure your efforts make a real difference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan: This morning it was more hobble the hobble (not walking well at the moment) but I am glad I went. And I really hope that my work on the phones helps...

      Delete
  9. Oh my dear EC, you have made me cry with this one. Your commitment, pictures, and journey continue to inspire me. I'm sending you hugs, lots and lots of them. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DJan: I am so sorry to have filled your eyes. And am more than grateful for the hugs. Thank you.

      Delete
  10. The lovely photos of sunrise with the devotion of people like you--compassionate and giving.

    Living near a marine base--we hear about suicides all too often.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan Kane: It is sad and bad. And still too common. Which is also sad and bad. Every life saved is a triumph, and every loss a tragedy.

      Delete
  11. We should all be grateful for people like you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. fishducky: I get a great deal more out of it than I give - but thank you.

      Delete
  12. What a great cause! And lovely photos too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ladyfi: It is a great (and much needed cause) and it was a beautiful morning.

      Delete
  13. Thank you for all that you do to help. I thank God every day that I am still alive. Also thank you for the pictures! They are a reminder that life goes on and that there is hope for a better day. Hopefully some day deaths by suicide will go down in numbers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teresa: I join in you in hoping that we start to lose less people to suicide. I really, really hope so.

      Delete
  14. Ah, a great cause and great photos!

    ReplyDelete
  15. You really do take beautiful dawn photos, EC.
    That's a wonderful walk - we did it back in 2000. Reminds me that we really should do it again one day.

    What an important, yet, sadly still, undervalued service Lifeline (and others) provide.

    I have been there. Staring into the black abyss. Just moments away from making "that" decision. There seemed no dawn to my darkness.
    At the time.
    The only thing that saved me was, "the little voice of reason".
    Some might call it conscience. Others, god. Or guardian angel.
    I fought through, long and hard, by myself.
    And here I am today.

    But, I do so wish there had been something like Lifeline back then.
    Just someone to talk to when it seemed no one at all cared to listen.

    I want to thank you, and the other wonderful souls, for being there for those who dwell in the darkness.
    Your voice could be just the right balm to soothe broken thoughts, and help begin the healing process.
    Bless you xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicki: It was a truly beautiful dawn - on so many levels.

      I too have trembled on the edge of the abyss. I had decided that I, and everyone else, would be better off I was dead. I had a plan, I had the means... But it took effort, and I just didn't have the energy. Apathy saved me - and left me feeling obligated to reach out to others in that dark space.

      Delete
  16. That you do this important work does not surprise me- you are soulful, and have surely saved life:-)



    Aloha

    ReplyDelete
  17. HI Very touching post. Thank you on behalf of those people you have helped and perhaps cannot not say that to you. Great work you are doing, very worthwhile. Love the sunrise shots, everyday brings a new chance of life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret Adamson: Every day is indeed a chance for a new start.

      Delete
  18. A very moving post EC, it's left me more speechless than usual. Thank you for all you do, and I hope you're okay.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I completely forgot about the walk! I meant to check if Adelaide had one going and where from to where. I'll make a note in my diary to check for next year. Perhaps you could post a reminder next September? I did ask a couple of people R U OK yesterday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River: I went and checked the Out of the Shadows link in this post - sadly Adelaide's walk has been and gone. If you would like it I will put up the link next year and you can see whether you want to go..

      Delete
  20. What an amazing person you are. I am in awe. Thank you for the lovely dawn photos, and for the reminder that we should all take time out of busy lives to do something for other people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alexia: I am a very ordinary person - but lifeline is one of my obsessions.

      Delete
  21. What a wonderful idea that walk is and so glad you could make it. Thanks also for some magnificent photographs. Everything you do is fantastic.
    My other half and I are constantly asking each other "Are you OK" 'cos you just need to know. Even if we both happen to waken at the same time in the night. I ask my daughter and her hubby the same question when we speak on the 'phone.
    I am not sure if they have the walk here in Perth although I imagine they would. I couldn't go anyway but it would be nice to know that folk recognise the significance of these special events and special days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mimsie: There were/are five walks in WA this year. No, you couldn't walk, but I love that you keep asking RU OK? Such a simple question, such an important question.

      Delete
  22. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, and thank you for walking for this deserving cause. As mother to a child with depression, a child who has contemplated suicide, I know the emotional rollercoaster this disease causes, for the sufferer and all those who love him. Thank you for helping to reduce the stigma, because that is the only way we can help those who need help. Peace...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda: I am so sorry to hear about your child. Depression is a cruel and soul sucking illness. Which should attract NO stigma - only support.

      Delete
  23. Such a wonderful cause and the early morning light so inspirational. My nieces husband ended his life just a few weeks ago. The result will be devastating for years to come for his three children. Thank you for posting this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yolanda Renee: I don't have the words to express how sorry I am for your niece, their children and for your niece's husband.

      Delete
  24. Oh, I like you more and more! Great cause and, of course, beautiful pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ms. CrankyPants: It is a great cause - and the beautiful morning was a bonus.

      Delete
  25. A beautiful day, and more power to you. One life is too many to lose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joanne Noragon: Thank you - and yes, each life ripples out to effect so many more. One life lost is far too many.

      Delete
  26. What a wonderful cause, EC, and what a beautiful sky you had that morning for the walk. Thank you for walking and for capturing the moment with your camera. It's sad that so few people participated, but every individual counts.

    Most large cities here do have Suicide Prevention Hotlines that people can call if they are contemplating doing away with themselves. There is also an international organization called Parents of Suicides that tries to help the surviving family members who have to cope with such tragedies.

    Kudos to you, EC, for raising awareness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. rhymeswithplague: There were more people walking than my camera caught. I walk slowly and stopped to take photos. Hopefully next year there will be more again. Lifeline is an national call centre so we reach out to people in the cities, and in the rural areas. And are needed in both.

      Delete
  27. You are so awesome. I know you were part of saving my life ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Letting the Words Escape: Thank you - but you are stronger than you give yourself credit. You did it yourself.

      Delete
  28. I recently read a statistic that said something like 66% of people at some time in their lives consider ending their life. I know that having someone who cares makes such a difference. Glad you are there and caring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debora: I haven't seen that statistic - but am not surprised. And yes, I care. Sometimes it isn't enough, but it is a starting place.

      Delete
  29. I have known two people in my life who have ended their lives. When I read posts such as this one, I know there is hope for people who think there is no other way. Bless you for being there for so many. Sending you a big hug :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DeniseinVA: I am only one of many. Hope is such a small word, such a fragile thing - and so essential.

      Delete
  30. Superb Cause. Thank you for bringing awareness, S.

    I have been in that black hole & I thank God I found my way into the light.

    I love your heart soooo much <3 Xxxxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My Inner Chick: Not only did you find the light - you radiate it out show the way to others. You are an inspiration.

      Delete
  31. Sadly, we have similar statistics here in New Zealand.

    It is a wonderful thing that you do EC, albeit I do not believe that suicide prevention is just one phone call away - it is far more complicated than that.

    Saying that, if the world had more caring people in it like you, it would be a much nicer place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wendy: These sad statistics are similar in far too many places.
      Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that one phone call will provide a magical solution, but rather that one phone call can be the start of the long journey. A long journey which involves many different steps for different people.

      Delete
  32. Such beautiful photos and such a beautiful cause. Good on you, EC, for making a difference in this world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cathy Oliffe-Webster: For trying to make a difference. Sadly no one succeeds all of the time.

      Delete
  33. It's a brilliant way of raising awareness, and letting people know they are not alone, and suicide must not be a taboo subject to be swept under the mat and spoken of in hushed embarrased tones. I remember your previous posts on this and think it's such a fine thing to do for an incredibly important cause. I'm glad you could make it, and I wish I'd been there with you. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All Consuming: I would have LOVED to have walked with you.

      Delete
  34. Hi Sue,

    Perhaps coincidence, perhaps not. Just ten minutes ago I was listening to a dear friend's interview she sent to me. In her radio interview she spoke of the tragic suicide of her brother. The pain is just as raw for her, 26 years later.

    That walk, the cause, the need to talk, to open our eyes to the darkness, profoundly written by you, dear friend. A timely posting, indeed.

    In peace and hope,

    Gary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. klahanie: No, not a coincidence. I have often wept for and with our callers so have some idea of just how devastating suicide can be. Heart-breaking.
      I do hope your weekend is full of the peace and hope you wished for me. Thank you.

      Delete
  35. Beautiful photos and such an important cause. Suicide prevention was never important to me, even though I lost an aunt to suicide. Not until a couple months ago, when my brother in law committed suicide. He was 27. Of course all the "What if's" go through your mind. He was the sort of person to never allow himself to say, no things are not okay. I wish for a world in which everyone feels safe and comfortable enough to say that. The work you do is inspiring. Sending you strength and light.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh and when I say, was never important to me, I mean more like never personal. I did and do care about preventing suicide (and all other unnecessary deaths, really) but it becomes something else when it happens to a close loved one. It's such a shock. I've been educating myself since.

      Just wanted to clarify that :) Sending blessings.

      Delete
    2. Raquel Somatra: Clarification not needed. I knew that you meant that it wasn't personal and wasn't an issue at the forefront of your mind. And I am so sad that it has become personal. It is such a challenging and frightening topic. And our culture does require people, particularly but not exclusively men, to 'tough things out'. Wrong, wrong and wrong.

      Delete
  36. Thank you so much for posting about this! We have one of the highest suicide rates in the nation in the Pacific Northwest, and people don't seek help when it's a taboo subject, as you know. Kudos to you. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Riot Kitty: Taboo on so many levels. Taboo to talk about, taboo to admit to suicidal ideation, taboo to discuss someone you have lost. Aaargh.

      Delete
  37. EC, I just checked the Out of the Shadows site. The Melbourne walk has been held.
    Now that I know about it through your blog, I hope to go next year.
    If you are able to, could you post about it a few weeks prior - as a reminder please?
    I hope it won't conflict with a market day :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicki: River also asked - so I will put up a reminder in August or so. I am so very glad that more people are thinking about going. So very glad.

      Delete
  38. Yes it is such a serious problem. Recently, i talked to a man whose son committed suicide many years ago. He still grieves and can't understand how his son could have done this.
    Thank you for the work you do for prevention.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Interesting post! awesome cause and beautiful photographs. really morning walk is best for everyone to health..thanks EC....or yes I just found an amazing place to visit which is world wide famous for their fabulous fountain, to know about it please visit
    http://touroperators-india.blogspot.in/2013/09/percolate-charm-of-largest-fountain-in-dubai.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MastHoliday: You are welcome to visit, but please don't leave advertisements here. If you do, I will delete your comments.

      Delete
  40. You are doing good things. Bless you, EC.

    ReplyDelete
  41. What a worthwhile cause – thanks for talking about suicide as it is a tragedy for so many people. I read that there were more US veteran casualties from suicide than from the war in Afghanistan. You are helping many people by making people aware about it.

    On another note, thanks for coming to my blog. I have had problems lately – I publish new posts but they do not update for hours, or even days, but if they eventually do I guess it is OK.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vagabonde: Thank you. Yet more casualties of war - the veterans and their families. Truly awful.
      Your posts do appear - and are always welcome - though I would be frustrated if mine took days to appear.

      Delete
  42. You are Awesome with a capital A, EC! What a wonderful thing to do and you are such a help. I know this from a personal standpoint and I thank you for being such a good friend. Hugs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River Fairchild: Blushes and shuffles feet. Thank you - and right back at you.

      Delete
  43. " I am not so naive to think that we can eliminate suicide completely, but we can certainly try."

    Suicide prevention is a worthy cause to be sure, because as I've heard it said, it's a permanent solution to what is often a temporary problem. I didn't know that you were opposed to suicide across-the-board though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Snowbrush: I am not opposed to suicide across-the-board. Which I didn't, and should have made clear. Essentially, and very briefly, I don't have any problem with suicide as an action. When it is a reaction to as, you say, a temporary problem I do. Relationship difficulties and the like. Given our current euthenasia laws suicide often seems to me to be the best available option. Which is wrong.

      Delete
  44. You amaze me, EC! With all your trials, you still find time to help others. Thank you for being such a wonderful person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol: Thank you. Lifeline is a cause very dear to my heart.

      Delete
  45. While treatment (and its availability) for depression is certainly vital, I'm not certain preventing ALL suicides is the right approach. What we need is dialogue on what circumstances make suicide an intelligent, thought out alternative, and in which case how family and friends can be taught to accept the decision and not shame the poor sod. As always, two sides, same coin. My take on the issue here: http://renaissancehippy.blogspot.in/2012/02/death-and-other-digressions.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. icyHighs: Welcome and thank you. You and Snowbrush are right. I was careless when I put this post up. I don't think that all suicide is wrong and agree that in some circumstances it is the 'best' (for want of a better word) decision. The vast majority of calls which come through to Lifeline (and I assume) other crisis lines are from people who are in a lot of pain (physical,mental and or emotional) but want to live. Those people I do think we need to try and help - to come to whatever decision is right for them. And where possible to support their family and friends. Suicide certainly shouldn't be a taboo subject. I am going to visit your post now - and thank you for your comment.

      Delete
    2. Hey EC, I only just saw your comment on my blog as it's an older post but such a relief to hear a balanced take from somebody who works in the field. I've linked to your post there so I can provide a more balanced view too. Thank you and great job!

      Delete
  46. Thank you for the work, the walk, and doing this post to share the event. It seems a beautiful location. like you, i don't know if we'll ever prevent it, but it's worth the effort... also like the 'RU OK' campaign. simple, direct, and to the point...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. daisyfae: Thank you. I don't think we will/can totally eradicate it but I agree (for those temporary pains) it is definitely worth trying. And the RU OK campaign is good.

      Delete
  47. Dear EC, this is life-saving work you are doing. Thank you for caring so much about all those who are experiencing the bleakness and coldness and loneliness that accompany a desire to commit suicide. You are the morning light in their lives. Peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dee: I hope to be able to help people find their own light.

      Delete
  48. What wonderful work you do - and wonderful that you were able to go on the walk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lynn: And I hope to be at next years as well...

      Delete
  49. I really appreciated RU OK Day. I think it's a marvellous initiative.

    Sue, I recently made enquiry about becoming a Lifeline counsellor & found it costs $900 to do the course to be a volunteer. Did you have to go through that? Just wondering if it's always been that way.

    Excellent post. Love what you do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wordsfallfrommyeyes: I have been a counsellor with Lifeline for over fifteen years now. You did have to pay when I joined, but it wasn't that much. Our centre at least has provisions in place to help people who cannot afford the fee. It might be worth checking whether the centre closest to you also has that flexibility

      Delete