There’s an ugly topic that is always lurking in our midst, one that until recently was considered one of the great taboos. That topic is suicide.
Almost 3 years ago I lost a close friend and as anyone who has been bereaved knows, it’s not something that goes away. Sometimes people try to find something positive they can do or to create a legacy, which is exactly how the Come Together Festival has come about. Founded by Damien Mannix last year, the festival engages in community building around music and art while supporting Beyond Blue.
Recently, after speaking with Damien about our personal stories we both recently went on the Conversation Hour with Jon Faine along with Dr Jo Robinson and Louise Flynn, who work in suicide prevention and support services. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve done in a long while, but I believe in opening up the conversation rather than contributing further to the stigma.
I am certain that many other people would also have lost someone to suicide, or know a suicide survivor – it’s all too common it seems. But given the stigma that still exists around suicide (and associated issues like depression) there are probably many more cases of people in our community that have attempted suicide that we generally don’t know of.
There are no easy answers to the problem but I think by both bringing it into the open we can at least have a dialogue. I also think that building and maintaining relationships has never been more important. Everyone can help prevent people feeling isolated by reaching out to those around them, because what’s the worst that’s going to happen if you let someone know you care or that they can talk to you if they need?
I’m proud to be performing at Come Together again, since it lives up to its namesake and encourages people to reach out to those around them. Plus it’s run by some really great people who are giving generously to create something worthwhile. This year features a solid line-up including HopeStreet artists The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra and The Meltdown.
I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and meeting some new ones. A less isolated world can only be a good thing.
The number for lifeline is 13 11 14.
Come Together takes place on Saturday March 5th at Edendale Farm in Eltham. Tickets available here