A group of walkers gathered just after dawn along the Warrnambool boardwalk yesterday to help bring suicide out of the darkness.
It’s estimated that someone in Australia dies every four hours by suicide and Lifeline South-West Victoria chief executive Meredith Ericson wants that to change.
The walkers came together to mark World Suicide Prevention Day and help dispel misunderstandings and the stigma around suicide.
Ms Ericson said it was important to have a conversation about suicide in the public forum, and those bereaved by such deaths also needed strong support.
“People often say ‘should I say something about it, or can I?’,” she said.
“It’s important to talk about it.”
Ms Ericson said she understood it was difficult for some of the people who attended the walk and was humbled by those who made the effort.
She said there were many types of stigma surrounding suicide and the reasons why people took their own lives were complex.
“If people know someone who might be feeling suicidal it’s OK to ask them if they’re having thoughts of suicide,” she said.
“If they are, they should be encouraged to see their GP or if they’re linked in with a mental health worker or phone Lifeline.”
She said a support group would be facilitated in the south-west to support people bereaved by suicide.
The most recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2009 found there were six deaths by suicide every day in Australia.
Lifeline hosted a series of dawn walks around Australia as part of the annual Out of the Shadows event which is focused on hope, recovery, reflection and prevention.
To call Lifeline phone 13 11 14.