LINDY Packer says the cold never seems to bother her for this lakeside reflection. Ms Packer said no matter what the temperature may be for Out of the Shadows walk, there was a real warmth and support from the people who gather.
Out of the Shadows remembers loved ones lost to suicide and, as a community, to change the conversation about suicide by raising awareness.
Ms Packer has been compiling the list of loved ones’ names to be read out as part of the service on behalf of Ballarat and District Suicide Prevention Network.
She said increased community awareness on the issues and the Network’s stronger social media presence has increasingly spread the message.
“It is important to know there is hope and light, even though sometimes is doesn’t feel like that,” Ms Packer said.
“This is a very moving experience...It is a safe place, non-judgmental. We walk together and there is that gentle understanding everyone is there for their own reason.”
Out of the Shadows is for the community – those affected by suicide and those who want to show support.
The walk, lined by tea candles, sets out from the rotunda near Pipers By the Lake at 5.30am with points for reflection, recovery, hope and prevention.
Gathering in darkness, the walk finishes in the light of a new day as dawn breaks, symbolising hope and renewal.
This year, participants will have the chance to write the name of their loved one on a small stone, which will be cast into Lake Wendouree to symbolise the reaching ripple effects for every death.
The Network continues to roll out suicide prevention program SafeTALK training across the community. Beating the Blues Ball late last month drew a near-booked out crowd of 210 people.
Out of the Shadows walk is held in partnership with Lifeline Ballarat on Saturday, ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day.
People are urged to arrive at 5.10am to register and receive a candle. There is a free shared breakfast after the walk.
Email a loved one’s name to Lifeline.Ballarat@vt.uniting.org or call 5322 4996.
- For crisis support, Lifeline 13 11 14.
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.