Since 2011, Scots has been an active participant in the Synod Suicide: It’s no Secret campaign. The aim of the campaign is to encourage people to talk about issues related to suicide. So often in the past, this has been a taboo topic, not just for someone with thoughts of suicide, but also by others who have been touched by suicide. You can imagine long-term harm for relationships in a family after someone dear to them has been lost to suicide if the incident is never discussed. Our campaign has the by-line “It’s time to talk.” Synod also maintains a web page which can quickly direct a person to the organisation or resource which will be most helpful for their situation.
Scots has held an event on the forecourt on or close to World Suicide Prevention Day, 10th September. This year, the 10th was a Saturday, so we decided it would be more effective to run the event on Thursday, 8th September. This was also the date this year for RUOK Day.
The weather that day was far from pleasant. In other years, we have sweltered under a hot sun. This year, drizzle started up, fortunately after we had erected the marquees. Peter Hacquoil, the piano busker, set up in the church tower foyer out of the rain. The fairy floss quickly congealed. Things went pretty slowly, with passers-by intent on getting to their destination as quickly as possible.
However, about 12.30pm, the weather fined up. Suddenly, everything changed. People stopped and listened, and then shared their experiences. A queue for fairy floss appeared.
This year our feature was a large white umbrella, on which people could tie messages about suicide and people lost to it. Through September we are also inviting passers-by to tie yellow ribbons on the Pulteney St fence in memory of someone touched by suicide.
The success of an event like this requires the efforts of many people. The Scots office provided invaluable aid (thanks Madeleine and Deb). We also contracted with Lizzie Ferguson to facilitate organisation. Lizzie is writing a handbook on mental health for the Synod and is no stranger to Scots, as we supported her attendance at a conference of young people and social justice last year. This year, as previously, Peter the Piano Busker donated his services for the day. Some Scots people came in the morning, in time for the nasty weather (thanks!). Most of the day, however, the bulk of volunteers were not Scots regulars, but people who had responded to invitations from Lizzie, Grace and Ellen. (Grace and Ellen used to run QSA.) It was encouraging to see people gather for a worthwhile event.
Although the event got off to a slow start, by the time we started to dismantle the equipment, everyone felt that they had made a contribution to others on that day.
Rev Dr Peter Trudinger
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