Hobart is host to a week-long focus on mental health and suicide prevention from Monday 14 to Thursday 17 October.
140 delegates and 25 speakers from across Australia are coming together for a suicide prevention conference hosted by Wesley LifeForce, a leading advocate for advising and supporting communities across Australia in suicide prevention and mental health.
The conference will bring together key stakeholders, network representatives and community mental health organisations to share, learn and advocate for suicide prevention services within Australia’s diverse communities.
An important part of the conference is a suicide memorial service that invites the community to come together to remember and grieve amongst those who have also been impacted by the death of a loved one or friend by suicide.
Wesley LifeForce Suicide Memorial Services are held annually in various centres around Australia for the families, friends and communities bereaved by suicide to gather in a spirit of comfort, support and hope, and to honour the memory of their loved ones.
All media are invited to the service at the Hobart Function and Conference Centre (HFCC), 1 Elizabeth Street Pier, Hobart on Tuesday 15 October from 4.30 to 5.30 pm.
The CEO/Superintendent of Wesley Mission, the Rev Keith V Garner AM, who will deliver a message of hope, said the loss by suicide is a devastating experience.
“The grief associated with suicide is complex and very difficult. Family members and friends can feel abandoned or rejected. Myriad questions often remain unanswered and, unfortunately, stigma remains,” Mr Garner said.
“The death of a loved one to suicide is life-changing for those left behind. The process of mending a broken heart does not take a week, a month or a year but a lifetime.
“The road to healing is not only long, but can be bumpy with many obstacles in the way. However, by drawing upon inner resources and by being in touch with our feelings, we can find an appropriate attitude to the past, the present and the future.
“The annual Wesley LifeForce Suicide Memorial Service is an opportunity for those bereaved by suicide to know that they are not alone and are part of a genuine and caring community.”
Key moments in the service:
Welcome by the CEO of Lifeline Tasmania, Debbie Evans.
Shared story from former policeman and current co-recipient of the Tasmanian 2019 Life award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Suicide Prevention’, Mark Davis.
Interview with Chaya Rainbird.
Musical performance by Tony Mak.
Message of hope from the Rev Keith V Garner AM.
Moment of silence and reflection.
Final blessing from Pastor Mark Anderson.
There will be an opportunity for participants to place messages remembering the lives of those lost to suicide on a memorial wall. Messages can also be posted on an online memorial wall. People who have been impacted by suicide can contact Lifeline, a 24-hour Crisis Support Service phone 13 11 14.
Media please note: Most people–including media professionals–have been touched by suicide. For many people, the service will be one of mixed emotions. We ask that you respect the privacy of people who are attending and those participating in the service.
For media reporting guidelines on suicide click here.
About Wesley LifeForce
Established in 1995, Wesley LifeForce began as a response to the growing number of suicide deaths in Australia. It is a national program providing suicide prevention services that educate and empower local communities, supporting people most at risk. More than 40,000 people have been trained through the program. For further information click here.
The CEO/Superintendent of Wesley Mission the Rev Keith V Garner AM is available for interview.
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