Join Community Newspaper Group in supporting the Stepping Out of the Shadows campaign to raise $1 million for Lifeline WA. We are encouraging our one million readers* to donate $10 each. Visit www.lifelinewa.org.au.
ANTHONY Fisk knew one of his best friends – an uncle to his three children – kept secrets but never thought it would lead to suicide.
“His family didn’t know he was gay,” the West Perth resident said.
Mr Fisk’s friend took his life in February, shocking his closest friends.
“I thought you could observe someone and identify it quite easy,” he said.
“What shocked me with him was how no one could have predicted it.
“If he had have reached out to someone we could have helped him. We want to encourage people to reach out and talk about their experience… what seems huge to you may not seem so big once you’ve shared it
Mr Fisk and his friends have united with philanthropist Ros Worthington to launch the Stepping Out of the Shadows campaign that aims to raise $1 million for Lifeline WA by the end of June.
Money raised will help Lifeline train at least 120 new telephone crisis volunteers every year and invest in marketing campaigns to recruit enough volunteers to answer every call through to the 13 11 14 line.
Mr Fisk said Lifeline volunteers completed hundreds of hours of training learning about groups like LGBTI.
The friends hosted a lunch in Postal Hall at COMO The Treasury on Sunday raising more than $3000.
For Mr Fisk, Stepping Out of the Shadows is more than just reaching out for help.
“It’s for people who have been affected by suicide and sharing what impact the death has had,” he said.
“The impact our friend’s death has had on the people around him has been devastating.
“We want more people to step out of the shadows and share their experience.”
Mr Fisk’s motivation for raising awareness is his young children, two-year-old daughter Celeste and three-month-old twins Julian and Iris.
“I think a lot about if it were my children,” he said.
“We’ve always been very open about discussing feelings with them.
“Parents can help, friends and family can encourage conversation… check in with people.
“I don’t want people to have to go through this.”
Since his friend’s death, Mr Fisk has set up the Gay Perth Suicide Awareness Facebook page to raise awareness about gay suicide.
“We’ve had more than 100 people join in just a few weeks,” he said.
(*Source: emmaTM conducted by Ipsos MediaCT for 12 months ending January – Readers in Last 4 Weeks. Nielsen DRM.)