On Monday 10 September 2018, Bridging Hope Charity Foundation together with Lifeline Research Foundation hosted a community event to support World Suicide Prevention Day. Held in the TWT Creative Precinct, the aim was to raise awareness, remember those lost to suicide, and unite in a commitment to prevent further deaths by suicide.
World Suicide Prevention Day encourages individuals and organisations to work together to prevent suicide and highlights the most essential ingredient for effective global suicide prevention – collaboration.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds. In Australia latest figures telling us that 2,866 Australians took their own life in 2016.
Through the Lifeline Research Foundation, we hear many stories and we acknowledge that many members of our community have been touched by human loss – it is a powerful equalizer.
In support of Lifeline’s “Out of the Shadows” campaign, members of the community were invited to come together for an evening to hear our special guest speakers, to collectively act towards end stigma and, above all, to celebrate HOPE!
There were three special guest speakers who shared their knowledge and experience with us in the night:
Ian Farmer from Lifeline Northern Beaches Chairman, gave the welcome address and introduced the speakers.
Dr Tim Sharp, AKA ‘Dr Happy’, from The Happiness Institute on Psychology of Positivity. An internationally renowned leader in the field of Positive Psychology, he is a sought after speaker and facilitator, consultant and coach, writer and podcaster, and spokesperson. “I have 3 degrees from 10 years of formal study of psychology and, in all that time, I didn’t learn anything about happiness.” He then talked the importance of his later studies into positive psychology “It’s not just about what’s wrong with people but what’s right with people.’’. ‘’It’s about living our best life and giving people a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Melody Qu had been working at Beijing New Century International Children’s Hospital before moving to Australia. In China she is well known for her work in pediatric psychology and is a published author of four books. Melody is an Advisor to Bridging Hope Charity Foundation in both Sydney and Beijing. Melody talked about the importance of hope. She said ‘’People of all nationalities and all ages need hope. But you can’t raise hope out of nothing. You need resources, you need something concrete.”
Paul McDonald has 20 years’ experience in photography and is an experienced educator, mentor and curator. He is currently Director of Contact Sheet, an international initiative promoting excellence and innovation in photographic practice, in St Leonards Sydney (part of the TWT Creative Precinct). Paul talked about his own personal experiences and the influence they had on his photography. They continue to influence his work which is now “focused on collaboration and education – helping other people get their voices out there through art.’’