The hushed topic of suicide often stirs discomfort and awkwardness. Yet, Lifeline Australia is breaking down these barriers by saying loudly and clearly: suicide doesn’t discriminate. On the eve of this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September, the organisation is spotlighting real-life stories from Australians who have grappled with suicidality, whilst underscoring the importance of reaching out.
Worldwide, suicide claims an estimated 703,000 lives each year. And for Australia alone, the Australian Bureau of Statistics disclosed that there were 3,144 suicide deaths in 2021. Shocking as these statistics may be, they don’t capture the true breadth of the problem. Lifeline believes the numbers reflect an issue that can touch any life, no matter how perfect it may seem from the outside.
The “Suicide Doesn’t Discriminate” campaign, an endeavour by Lifeline, seeks to dispel the stigmas and misunderstandings surrounding suicide. It does so by featuring two pairs of individuals from contrasting backgrounds who share their personal accounts. One of the interviewees, Imbi, has been on a heart-wrenching journey herself. After her youngest son faced a traumatic event at the age of 12, her life spiralled into despair. She said, “Four years ago, I reached the lowest point in my entire life. I also didn’t want to live one year longer, and I reached out to Lifeline.”
Colin Seery, Lifeline Australia CEO, emphasises that the campaign is about showcasing the full human spectrum of those who experience suicidality and mental health issues. “This campaign is all about amplifying the voices of those who have lived with or continue to live with suicidality and mental health issues,” he said. He urges people not to fight their battles in isolation. Lifeline’s Crisis Supporters are accessible around the clock, both via a telephone hotline and digital channels.
But it’s not just about awareness; it’s about action. Former Australian Rules footballer and Lifeline ambassador Archie Smith calls upon Australians to participate in the annual “Out of the Shadows Walk” on World Suicide Prevention Day. The 9km walk will serve as a poignant tribute to the 9 Australians who lose their lives to suicide every day. Funds raised from the walk will be used by Lifeline to provide its essential services, including crisis support and safety plans.
In a country where Lifeline expects to respond to over one million requests for help this year alone, their message couldn’t be clearer: help is out there for those in need. If you or someone you know is struggling, Lifeline provides support through their phone line 13 11 14, text at 0477 131 114, or online chat at www.lifeline.org.au—all available 24/7.
So this World Suicide Prevention Day, remember that the darkest hour is just before dawn. However insurmountable a problem might seem, nobody has to face it alone. Lifeline is here to listen, and in a world that can often seem indifferent, sometimes that’s all you need to begin healing.
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