You are not alone: Darwin community event draws together people touched by suicide loss
People who have lost loved ones or friends to suicide will have the opportunity to come together in a spirit of comfort and hope at a community memorial service in Darwin.
The Wesley LifeForce Memorial Service is being held on Thursday 6 September at the Royal Flying Doctor Service Tourist Facility, Stokes Hill Wharf, between 5 pm and 6 pm.
The CEO of Wesley Mission the Rev Keith Garner, who will be delivering the keynote address on the day, said the Wesley LifeForce Memorial Service is an opportunity to provide comfort to those bereaved by suicide, to help reduce the stigma associated with suicide and to honour the memory of their loved ones.
“The message to the people of the Top End is that you are not alone in your grief,” Mr Garner said.
“The memorial service has been designed for people who have been affected by suicide and who live in its heartbreaking aftermath, and for the community to reflect upon this serious social issue,” Mr Garner said. “It is vitally important that people are given permission to talk and grieve. For decades suicide has been a taboo subject but it is important that those who are left behind realise that they are not alone in their pain.”
The service, now in its second year, will hear from Maxwell Duncan. Born and raised in the Northern Territory, Mr Duncan is a third generation local. He has struggled with anxiety, depression and suicidality since the age of nine. During the past five years he has lost eight friends to suicide. He has attended suicide prevention and mental health workshops which he has found helpful in recognising the signs of people struggling with mental health issues.
Reflective songs and performances by Crystal Robins will provide fitting ambience. Those attending the service will also have the opportunity to toss a flower into Darwin Harbour in memory of their loved one or friend.
People will also have the opportunity to leave a message of love and remembrance on the Wesley LifeForce Memorial Wall. Counsellors will be present to offer support.
The CEO of Anglicare Northern Territory, David Pugh, and the Rev Patricia Williams from Christ Church Cathedral will also participate in the service.
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.
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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