Memorial quilt to raise suicide awareness

THE Suicide Prevention Awareness Network central Victoria group is inviting Bendigo residents to take part in the making of a memorial quilt, which will be displayed around the region to raise awareness of suicide prevention.

The Kangaroo Flat Uniting Church craft group will stitch individual material squares together to form the memorial quilt.

Material squares can be collected from the Bendigo Advertiser office in Queen Street during office hours.

SPAN’s Alannah McGregor said the idea was to create a permanent memorial that would also raise awareness of suicide prevention.

Ms McGregor said people were encouraged to decorate the fabric squares in any way they see fit, such as by stitching on something significant, painting favourite song lyrics or adding beading or ribbons.

Completed squares must be returned to the Bendigo Advertiser by Thursday, February 28.

Ms McGregor has decorated squares for two children lost to suicide.

“Suicide is often taboo and people are not invited to talk about deceased loved ones,” she said. “This way you can publicly acknowledge their deaths in a way that’s a fitting tribute.”

The memorial quilt will be completed before Bendigo's second annual Suicide Prevention Awareness Walk on Sunday, March 24.

The walk through Rosalind Park and the central business district will start from the Dai Gum San Chinese precinct at 11am.

About 500 people turned out for the first walk last  year.

Ms McGregor said the memorial quilt was also part of the network’s ongoing aim to encourage public discourse on suicide.

“The idea we spoke about at our committee meeting is that even though it’s excellent for people who have been bereaved to get together and public acknowledge it, it’s also important for all people to come out and support those people and show the public that this has to be talked about.”

The Bendigo Advertiser received a Suicide Prevention Australia LIFE award last year for its role in establishing the Suicide Prevention Awareness Network central Victoria group, its ongoing support for the group and commitment to suicide awareness.

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