THIS was a service Ballarat and District Suicide Awareness Network knew was still needed for the community amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The overwhelming strong connections in response has the Network considering ways to better reach more people moving forwards to reflect and remember loved ones lost to suicide, while also providing hope.
Network chairman and Ballarat policeman Des Hudson said the virtual Out of Shadows event had now been viewed by "multiple hundreds" of people in the wake of the weekend livestream.
You can watch Out of the Shadows service below
Leading Senior Constable Hudson said this far exceeded the number of people who usually attend the pre-dawn service by Lake Wendouree and this could suggest an added need for people to reflect in the comfort of their homes.
"The fact people have shared it and it's out there is pleasing for something we wished we didn't have to make," Leading Senior Constable said.
"We were all a little bit apprehensive in trying to maintain the integrity of what the walk is...Hopefully next year we will return to a face-to-face event, but these tools are in our back pocket if needed."
The fact people have shared it and it's out there is pleasing for something we wished we didn't have to make.Des Hudson, Ballarat and District Suicide Awareness chairman
In Australia, 8.3 lives are lost to suicide every day with an annual population rate of 12.2 lives per 100,000 people. Ballarat has one of the highest suicide rates in Australian cities.
The numbers are never entirely clear due to difficulties in reporting and a lag in coronial findings.
The Network read aloud 122 names to pay respect to loved ones lost to suicide.
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Leading Senior Constable Hudson said feedback from a song by Tony Lovett and Friends, played during a reflection point in the service, had struck a chord for people with many citing compassion in the feedback he had received.
Out of the Shadows is usually a walk between reflective points timed to finish with dawn breaking over Lake Wendouree as a sign of hope. It is also about mutual, even if unspoken, support.
Leading Senior Constable Hudson hoped many had still found this in virtually sharing the service with others.
- If you or someone you know is in need of crisis support, phone Lifeline 13 11 14.
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