BENDIGO’S Alannah McGregor and Bette Phillips reached out to the community yesterday in a bid to raise awareness about the issue of suicide.
The two women are members of the Suicide Prevention Awareness Network central Victoria group, which is behind tomorrow’s walk from the Dai Gum San Chinese precinct through the Bendigo CBD.
The walk, now in its second year, is designed to allow those who have been touched by suicide to remember loved ones, friends, work colleagues and school mates.
Yesterday the duo were in Hargreaves Mall handing out flyers and registration forms for the walk.
A memorial quilt created in honour of the event was also on display.
The pair were joined by Bendigo Community Health Services’ Sharna Rowley and Bendigo Bank’s Jack Kennedy.
Ms Phillips, who is a work-related grief support family service co-ordinator, said the awareness walk was an important event the people of Bendigo should rally behind.
“There is a high suicide incidence rate in and around the region,” Ms Phillips said.
“There is still a lot of stigma around suicide and that is very difficult for families.
“We need to be more aware of just how much it can impact on us as a community.”
Ms Phillips said grief could be isolating and it was important for people to not shy away from talking about suicide.
“Families don’t want to talk about it and friends don’t want to talk about,” she said.
“We need to be able to say that it is here and we can’t avoid it.
“We need to begin to open these conversations.”
Businesses and community members have thrown their support behind the walk, with the Bendigo Bank again a sponsor.
Customer relationship officer Jack Kennedy said the bank was proud to again be part of the walk.
Registrations will open tomorrow at 9.30am at the Dai Gum San Chinese precinct, in Bridge Street.
For more information on the walk, visit the Bendigo Advertiser website.