Hundreds of people gathered in Auburn on Thursday 12 October to march in solidarity for Suicide World Prevention Day.
Organised by the Salvation Army and funded by the Cumberland Council, the Together for Hope candlelight walk aims to raise awareness for suicide and mental health.
With more than 3000 people being affected by suicide each year, suicide is becoming one of the leading causes of death in the Australian community. Between eight to ten Australians die from suicide each day and there is an estimated 180 people who attempt suicide, nearly half being hospitalised.
Suicide prevention awareness is one powerful tool of sharing knowledge that empowers individuals and the wider community to assist those who are at risk of suicide.
Paul Moulds, leader of the Salvation community in Auburn says this is one of many activities the Auburn Salvation are doing to raise awareness on the issue of suicide.
“[Suicide] is particularly an issue in our community because there is a lot of taboo around it. A lot of the different cultures in our [Cumberland] community are often reluctant to talk about it. There is shame associated with asking for help and sometimes there are religious prohibitions about it. We are really trying to play our part in encouraging conversation around suicide.”
Crowds accumulated at Auburn Primary school where face painting, temporary tattoos and light refreshments were accommodated by the friendly volunteers who assisted throughout the day.
Following registrations, attendees commenced their walk towards Auburn Central Forecourt. People of all ages and cultural backgrounds marched side by side waving their self-made signs and their candles that act as a symbol of hope to all those who have been affected by suicide.
Among the crowd marching was Cumberland Mayor, Greg Cummings, who showed his support for the suicide prevention initiative.
“The more we can get out to the community in general, especially Cumberland being so diverse – the better. If you see a friend and it looks like there’s something wrong, please ask them if they are alright and just try to talk to them because that could turn them around from their troubles”.
The high spirited crowd concluded their march at the steps of Auburn Central where they listened to heart felt speeches and performances by different groups and organisations.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts or depression, please call the 24 hour hotline for lifeline Australia on 131 114.