Suicide Prevention

4th December 2019 

Matters of Interest 

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:26): I was pleased to participate in the 10th ’Walk through the darkness and into the light’ conducted by Living Beyond Suicide from Tennyson to Henley Beach early on the morning of 23 November. Many others joined me in that walk or in walking from West Beach to Henley. A moving remembrance ceremony hosted by AnglicareSA CEO, the Reverend Peter Sandeman, a member of the Premier’s Council on Suicide Prevention, followed breakfast. 

It was good to see Mr Matt Cowdrey, the member for Colton, and the Hon. Stephen Wade, the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, supporting this important event, which featured music from Nathan May and Waylon Scott, a moving smoking ceremony conducted by Karl Telfer and some emotional reflections from survivors of suicide Ellie Miles and Jude Murphy. It was concluded with a guided reflection led by Peter Burke of the pastoral care section of AnglicareSA. 

As well as those mentioned, Living Beyond Suicide also thanked the Adelaide Primary Health Network, Bereaved Through Suicide, MOSH Australia and Sonia Waters for their support for this year’s event and those that have gone before it. On the program for the day, there were some words that I think meant a great deal to those who attended who had lost someone to suicide, and they also mean a great deal to those of us who support those people: 

Those we love don’t go away 

they walk beside us every day… 

unseen, unheard, but always near, 

still loved, still missed and very dear. 

On Thursday 28 November, I was pleased to speak at the ‘No blame. No shame. Surviving suicide loss.’ event conducted by GriefLink, the Hawke Centre and the University of South Australia. It was also good to participate in a panel with other speakers: Jill Chapman, the founder of MOSH Australia and another member of the Premier’s Council on Suicide Prevention; Professor Nicholas Procter from the University of South Australia; and Ian James from the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist. I would like to particularly thank Dr Mary Brooksbank and all the GriefLink team for organising this very well-attended event. I think it was one in which I was able to indicate my support for the community efforts in suicide prevention. 

A question was raised to the audience as to how many were aware of suicide prevention networks in the community. Given that it was a largely metropolitan audience and it is in the inner metropolitan areas we need to get more of the networks established, I think many of us were surprised at the large number of hands that went up of people who were aware of the networks. 

I continue to work with the metropolitan mayors in councils that have not yet established a suicide prevention network to make sure that we continue to work towards covering every part of South Australia. We are also working with groups within the multicultural community. The Multicultural Communities Council and also individual communities have expressed concerns about the rate of suicide and the way in which they want assistance to find the best way to deal with issues that have not easily been discussed within their communities.