Suicide awareness walk different every year

Ros Worthington in Kings Park. Photo: Matt Jelonek.
Ros Worthington in Kings Park. Photo: Matt Jelonek.

LIFELINE WA’s annual Out of the Shadows and Into the Light walk is different every year – more people attend who have been impacted by suicide.

Ros Worthington started the walk nine years ago when she discovered there was no support system after her husband took his own life in 2002.

The walk is held ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day, which falls on September 10 this year.

“The difference is every year it grows,” she said.

“There’s going to be new people there that have lost loved ones since the last walk in the last year, to suicide.

“I have a close family friend who lost her nephew four weeks ago, at 38, so all their family are coming.”

She said it was important to eliminate the stigma attached to those who are grieving the death of those who took their own life.

“I started it to create a solidarity or a unity for those of us who lost loved ones,” she said.

“There was nothing for us, we couldn’t go and do a march and a walk, because there was shame attached to it and stigma.

“It’s been my focus to rid the shame and stigma.”

Lifeline WA chief executive Lorna MacGregor said 85 per cent of Australians knew someone who took their own life.

“Three hundred and seventy-one West Australians died by suicide in 2016, and research shows that for every person that dies, 135 people are impacted by their death,” she said.

“We would encourage anyone who has been affected by the death of a loved one through suicide to take part in this event.”

The free event will be held on September 8 in Kings Park from 5am to 7am, starting at the Wadjuk carpark.

There will be a ceremony at Roe Garden before a walk through the gardens to emerge at the War Memorial.

To register, email jamesdalesio@lifelinewa.org.au, including the number of people in your group.

Lifeline’s 24/7 telephone crisis support service is available on 13 11 14.