House debates

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Constituency Statements

Northern Territory: Suicide Prevention

10:36 am

Photo of Luke GoslingLuke Gosling (Solomon, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last Saturday I participated in the Come Walk With Me suicide prevention walk in Palmerston. More than 100 people—most with a personal experience of loss—were also taking part. The walk is in its second year, and its founder, Vanessa Lowe, is a mum who is surviving the loss of her child to suicide. From her grieving heart, Vanessa addressed the crowd and said:

I know many of you will totally understand when I say I am a survivor of a loved one to suicide. It is okay to say today, I am not okay. Some days are better than others. But I am always so damn sad just beneath the surface. Let us walk with pride today, showing the love that lives on for our loved ones lost. Suicide numbers are the highest ever. It is time to stop not speaking about it. Suicide needs to stop. People need to understand that the loss to a suicide leaves a ripple effect. If our loved ones understood that, they would never have left. It is time that we started to let others know the impact that suicide has on the people left behind.

It is time to let them know how suicide affects others as it does in so many different ways. Things, such as the fact that my husband, Errol, and I have now been showering outside in the yard for the past two years, 24 weeks and three days. We are stuck in a house that is full of sadness—a house that my children and grandchildren don't like to visit now, because it is just too sad. For my mental health, it would probably be best that I moved, but I am trapped. It is time to make people aware that suicide only brings more sadness and much devastation.

Tomorrow is another day. Things don't stay the same; things usually have a way of working out. Suicide is not the option.

Also participating in last Saturday's walk were TEAMhealth, Top End NT StandBy Response Service and DRISPN, the Darwin Region Indigenous Suicide Prevention Network. I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of Ngaree Ah Kit for her leadership in establishing this network—herself a survivor of a sibling lost to suicide. I also congratulate Ngaree on her recent electoral success as a new member of Karama in the NT Legislative Assembly and her new, very important position as Assistant Minister for Suicide Prevention, Mental Health and Disabilities. The new Northern Territory government has a target to halve suicide by 2020, and I will be working with them to achieve that goal. Suicide has to stop and we all have a role to play. Please heed Vanessa's plea.