Front page a fitting tribute

THE Bendigo Advertiser has published its traditional 'special' front page today in honour of the city's annual Suicide Prevention and Awareness Walk.

The walk will leave the Dai Gum San precinct in Bridge Street at 11am on Sunday with activities starting at 9.30am.

The annual Black Dog Ride will combine with the Suicide Prevention Awareness Network walk for the first time - up to 300 motorbikes leaving the McCrae Street carpark about 10.50am bound for Puckapunyal.

It's once again been an honour for the Bendigo Advertiser to play such a large role in the organisation of this walk and the SPAN central Victoria group.

This is a wonderfully community-minded group of people who put in a lot of time and effort into raising awareness of vital issues such as suicide and mental health. 

Some are there because of personal experience.

Others give their time because they are passionate about the issues of suicide and mental health.

Then there's the welfare groups who work tirelessly to help those affected by suicide in our community.

It's inspiring to watch these people invest their time and the passion they show in trying to make a difference for their community.

It's difficult to single people out - they all deserve equal recognition.

But mention should be made of the City of Greater Bendigo who supplies not one but two members of the SPAN group without seeking any recognition for such commitment to the community.

Statistics show each suicide directly effects up to 20 people at a time.

Council also does plenty of behind the scenes work in making this SPAN walk happen each year and the community should be aware of such dedication.

Sadly, there is much work for this group to do as people continue to take their own lives in our community at an alarming rate.

Statistics show each suicide directly effects up to 20 people at a time.

We have lost so many good people who, as one expert said, get to a point where the pain outweighs the hope.

As a community we must continue to look out for each other and raise awareness that there are many groups out there willing to help those in need.

These organisations are well trained to help and have the right people to listen.

There is a young girl who tells her story on page 18 of today's Bendigo Advertiser.

The powerful message from this emotional story is that when all seems lost hope does exist.

Not only does hope exist but it lives in the form of organisations such as Headspace who can carefully guide young people back to fulfilling and healthy lives.

That's the message we need to shout loud and clear.

But for the moment we will pause on Sunday and remember all those who have been lost to suicide - this walk is for every one of them.

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