Suicide survivors and their supporters gather to heal and raise awareness

Moyne Shire mayor James Purcell and Warrnambool City Council mayor Michael Neoh and Warrnambool White Wreath Day organiser Lyn Mast in front of the Sky Canoe by local artist David Higgins that was displayed as part of White Wreath Day.

Moyne Shire mayor James Purcell and Warrnambool City Council mayor Michael Neoh and Warrnambool White Wreath Day organiser Lyn Mast in front of the Sky Canoe by local artist David Higgins that was displayed as part of White Wreath Day.

UNDER the watchful eyes of The Guardians on Warrnambool’s Civic Green, a sea of white wreaths slowly appeared yesterday.

It was a poignant reminder of the effect suicide has on the community as family members, friends and civic leaders came to remember those who had taken their own lives as part of National White Wreath Day.

Organiser Lyn Mast said in an ideal world, the civic green would have been free of wreaths yesterday, but said the event went some way to helping people heal and let go of their grief. 

She said the day was also a way to raise awareness of suicide, which takes more lives than road accidents. 

“It’s an important way for the community to come together and highlight there are support services and people who are willing to help,” Mrs Mast said. 

“We have a beautiful, supportive community and this is a perfect way to show that to people who may need support.” 

Mrs Mast said organising the event was an emotional and rewarding experience. 

She said it was also touching to see survivors come down to support the event and celebrate their life. 

“They are talking about their hopes for the future and talking about how important it is to reach out because there are people to help and things will get better,” she said. 

An artwork by David Higgins, the Sky Canoe, was on display beside the wreaths.

The canoe is described as an imaginary and mystical vessel that exists out of time and in between worlds. 

“I just loved what it represented and felt it fitted perfectly with the theme of the day,” Mrs Mast said. 

Warrnambool City mayor Michael Neoh and Moyne Shire mayor James Purcell both laid wreaths and Premier and Member for South West Coast Denis Napthine also had a wreath laid on his behalf. 

Councillors Neoh and Purcell said there were many people from all walks of life who were facing pressures and it was important to ensure they know people are willing to listen and help. 

For help or information visit beyondblue.org.au, call Suicide Helpline Victoria on 1300 651 251, or Lifeline on 131 114.

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