Mental Health & Suicide Prevention

28th November 2018 

Matters of Interest 

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:21): Today, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight my recent involvement with a range of community organisations in a variety of worthy events and projects. It is always good to participate in the ‘Walk through the darkness and into the light’ from Tennyson to Henley Beach and the moving ceremony which follows in Henley Square, which took place this year on 17 November. I walked from Tennyson, and others walked from West Beach to Henley, then gathering for moving ceremony which followed. 

The event is organised every year by AnglicareSA and Living Beyond Suicide and marks the International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. I was pleased to be joined at the ceremony in Henley Square by the member for Colton in another place, Mr Matt Cowdrey OAM. The Reverend Peter Sandeman, CEO of AnglicareSA and a member of the Premier’s Council on Suicide Prevention, walked beside me from Tennyson and provided the main address during the ceremony. 

As an Operation Flinders Foundation Ambassador for two decades, I was pleased to host a lunch at Parliament House yesterday for other ambassadors and supporters of the foundation. Thank you to John van Ruth and Jonathon Robran of Operation Flinders for working with my office to organise this event, which featured the ongoing work of the foundation in turning around the lives of at-risk youth. More than 500 young people participated in the program at Yankaninna in the northern Flinders Ranges this year. 

Many members from this place have been up to witness an Operation Flinders exercise, and the foundation is very keen to invite many of the newer members who have not had the opportunity to witness the work that goes on at Yankaninna with these young people—they are very keen to facilitate a visit in the near future. It was particularly worthwhile to listen to an interview yesterday between Jonathon Robran and Kasey Eusope, a young man who went on an Operation Flinders program exercise. Kasey indicated the great turnaround in his life, the motivation the program has given him, and the way in which he has now developed as a peer group mentor who works closely with young participants in the Operation Flinders program. 

Members would be aware that the Gawler RSL sub-branch has this year organised the development of Christmas care packages for our service personnel who are serving overseas. I collected many donated items in a box outside my Parliament House office, and I am very grateful for the support that I received from colleagues and staff across the building. We were actually overwhelmed with the amount of items that were left outside the door of my office. 

Donations also included those collected for the explosive detection dogs that are also posted overseas. Some very interesting items were specifically deposited there for the dogs. I was very pleased to deliver the items to the Gawler RSL at the Remembrance Day and dedication ceremony in Gawler on 11 November. 

I heard that over the weekend many volunteers started the packing of these packages so that they could be posted overseas in time for Christmas for the personnel who are serving. At that stage, I understood that 70 boxes had been prepared, but I have been alerted this morning that the total goods finished up amassing over 100 boxes that will be sent off to serving personnel and those dogs in overseas postings.