Bass Coast,

Reducing The Stigma Around Suicide

A community forum to reduce the stigma and raise awareness about suicide and mental illness is being held in Bass Coast on Sunday, 28 June.

Bass Coast Shire Anderson Ward Councillor, Bradley Drew, and wife, Jillian, have organised the Reduce The Stigma - Suicide Awareness Community Forum.

Cr Drew was initially prompted by a community member asking for the established of a support group following a number of recent suicides in the community.

Knowing first-hand the struggle those suffering from mental illness and suicide tendencies face, along with their close friends and family, Cr Drew said there was a big space to fill when it came to awareness and education around these important issues, especially for young people.

“There’s no particular age bracket when it comes to suicide, but we’re encouraging the younger generation in particular to come along so we can see more awareness and education filter through our schools, students, principals and teachers,” Cr Drew said.

“Quite often mental health issues begin when people are young, but due to a lack of support in regional areas they may look ok from the outside, but struggle on the inside and feel like they have nowhere to go. Sadly, these problems can result in suicide.

“We need to be more vocal in this space and keep our community, our neighbours informed and educated the best we can to assist friends, family and fellow community members.”

Cr Drew said when it is too late and someone takes their own life, the people they leave behind will continue to struggle.

“There are so many unanswered questions for those left behind, and we want to prevent any loss or grief from happening by providing the support people need from the start.”

Ms Drew said they had teamed up with Survivors of Suicide (SOS) Ballarat to make the event possible.

“The SOS Ballarat founder, Kristy Steenhuis, will be attending the forum, and we hope to establish a SOS Gippsland following the event,” Ms Drew said.

“We will also have guest speakers at the forum, as well as question and answer time for all attendees to participate in.”

If you have been bereaved by suicide, you are concerned for a love one, are feeling vulnerable or simply wish to gain more understanding and awareness on suicide and mental health, then please don’t miss this opportunity to attend the forum.

It will be held at the Newhaven College Auditorium on Boys Home Road, Newhaven, on Sunday, 28 June at 12.00pm. For more information, please contact Jillian on 0413 056 165 or