PORT Stephens Suicide Prevention Network (PSSPN) again hosted a successful ‘Walk With Us’ event this week, at Boat Harbour’s Iluka Reserve.
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The aim of the Walk With Us event is to raise awareness for the suicide prevention movement and to shine a light on the stigma surrounding mental health.
The walk begins each year at Solace Place, and follows the coast along Boat Harbour, past the whale watch platform to the Carin.
The event is growing bigger every year, with this year’s event surpassing the attendance numbers of previous years.
Attendees were treated to a barbecue, rock painting, live music, and guest speakers ranging from State Member for Port Stephens MP Kate Washington, through to PSSPN members and families affected by suicide.
Part of the special day saw attendees acknowledge and pay tributes to a very important PSSPN member, Rick Pettit, who sadly passed away last week, just shy of the 8th Walk With Us event.
Rick was instrumental in the designing of the obelisk at Solace Place, at Boat Harbour where the walk takes place each year.
The group networked five years ago with the Boat Harbour Parks and Reserves to build walking paths, the obelisk and a special seat.
PSSPN have now set their sights on their next project to fundraise for, a labyrinth garden.
PSSPN says the “motivation for a labyrinth at Boat Harbour came from someone who had experienced grief and loss, because they are a tool for relief from overwhelming grief.”
“When you walk a labyrinth you do not stop grieving but you come to a better place where you can cope with it.
Providing a labyrinth in a community can support and enhance the community in a variety of ways.”
“It can be a quiet place where walking the labyrinth can be a proactive way to deal with anxiety and stress, PTSD, depression and addictive behaviour.”
Initial costings estimate the project will cost around $40,000.
If anyone is interested in PSSPN or becoming involved in the labyrinth project, contact Port Stephens Suicide Prevention Network on 0428821236.
By Rachael VAUGHAN