PORT Stephens people who have lost someone to suicide will have an opportunity, in a supported environment, to learn skills to be able to share their story.
Lifeline Hunter Central Coasts’ new Suicide Speaker Bureau is being offered for the first time in Port Stephens on 5 June.
The free, one day, skills-based workshop has been developed by Lifeline’s local community manager Robyn Lawrence. It was piloted in Newcastle earlier this year.
Ms Lawrence said the workshop will equip participants with information and confidence to safely tell their story and share memories of their loved one.
She said two highly trained and experienced facilitators will gently take participants through a process with lots of love and support.
“It is important for people to be able to share their story because it can help take the anxiety out of having conversations with people,” Ms Lawrence said.
“There are some important dos and don’ts when speaking about suicide to help protect the storyteller as well as the listener,” she said.
“It is part of the grieving process and beneficial for other people to feel they can have an open conversation with a bereaved person.”
“Speaking groups have helped people to communicate better for years so we have taken that concept to help local people to safely speak about their experience off loss to suicide.”
Ms Lawrence said helping people to talk about suicide breaks down the stigma around suicide that still exists in the community.
She said reducing stigma is important for tackling Australia’s suicide emergency.
Suicide rates are at a 10 year high with around 3,000 deaths annually. Suicide rates are double the national road toll.
Lifeline and Ports Stephens Suicide prevention Network also run a Survivors of Suicide (SOS) support group on the fourth Monday of the month at Tomaree Library.
The workshop is free thanks to funding from Primary Health Network – Hunter, New England and Central Coast. People interested in attending should call 4940 2000 or email email@example.com.