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Lake Macquarie memorial service provides comfort and hope to those left behind by suicide

1 October 2018 Media releases

A memorial service for those who have lost loved ones or friends to suicide will be held in Newcastle on Thursday, 4 October as part of Mental Health Month.

The Wesley LifeForce Suicide Memorial Day will be held at the The Heritage Shed, Speers Point Park, Speers Point, Lake Macquarie beginning at 12 noon. The service, which has now become a regular event in the Hunter, allowing people touched by suicide to come together in a spirit of comfort and hope.

The CEO of Wesley Mission, the Rev Dr Keith Garner, said many people had experienced loss by suicide but had limited opportunity to fully grieve and come to terms with what has happened. He encouraged people from Newcastle, the greater Hunter and mid-North Coast to attend the event.

Charmaine du Plessis who lost her eldest daughter Chani to suicide in 2016 will share her personal story of grief and hope. Charmaine, who is a mental health therapist, has helped others who have been impacted by suicide and mental health issues.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child but I have become aware that we need an informed world to keep them alive,” Charmaine said. “Creating and facilitating opportunities for people to talk openly about their struggles with mental health issues and suicide. Creating safe and non-judgmental environments for the weary and broken to come and rest, restore and live.”

Dr Garner said the suicide of someone you care about is a devastating tragedy. “It happens in the best of families and to the best of people – and leaves the shattered lives of shocked survivors”, Dr Garner said. “Suicide is one of the most difficult deaths to face. There can be all kinds of mixed emotions present in your loss. The experience of loss can be devastating. The world moves on and suddenly you are alone with your grief. The Wesley LifeForce Suicide Memorial Day Newcastle provides time for reflection, gives people permission to grieve knowing they are not alone in their sorrow.”

Musical performances by Christy du Plessis will provide ambience to the moving event.

Wesley LifeForce began in 1995 and has since trained more than 40,000 Australians in suicide prevention skills in metropolitan, regional and remote Australia. It has also helped in the development and ongoing support of 94 community-based suicide prevention networks – many of them Indigenous - across the nation with the number expected to reach more than 120 in the next few years. The networks are helping to reduce the stigma associated with suicide and are encouraging people to seek help from crisis support, community and mental health services. They represent almost 900 network members who live or work in their local communities.

Event details

What: Wesley LifeForce Suicide Memorial Day Lake Macquarie
Where: The Heritage Shed, Speers Point Park, Speers Point, Lake Macquarie
When: Thursday, 4 October, 2018
Time: 12 noon – 1 pm. Refreshments will be served from 1 pm.

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 please be discreet when filming or interviewing people at the service. Wesley Mission also asks the media to be mindful of personal space, particularly when people are grieving. 

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