I am a social work academic, and after working with families and young people, over fifteen years ago I became interested in the experiences of those exposed to suicide. That is, the families, friends, school mates, colleagues and others who lose someone to suicide. I too, have been exposed to the suicide death, suicide attempts, and suicidal ideation, of people close to me. I am passionate about understanding and supporting those who experience these tragic, and largely preventable, deaths and traumas.
I am driven by the lack of best practice for supporting those who need it, to understand how we can learn from those who survive these events, and reducing stigma across our community. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are disproportionally affected by suicide, and many small communities are developing grass roots solutions to the challenges faced within their communities, or are crying out for help to reduce suicide among their people. As Program Chair of the 2016 National Suicide Prevention Conference and a Director of Suicide Prevention Australia, I am proud to be taking part in this Hike to Halve Suicide, and raising much needed funds to provide scholarships for these Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leaders to come and share their experiences, and for them to hear of other experiences of others. Only when we work together, we can finally have an impact on reducing the numbers of suicide deaths. To do this, we need whole of community programs, addressing the challenges faced, building resilience, and supporting those in life-threatening situations.
I appreciate your support through working with me to reach my fundraising target. I look forward to welcoming our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholarship recipients at the 2016 Conference.