international survivors of suicide loss day

Local event supports those touched by suicide loss

THE local event marking International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day will this year be streamed on Facebook for the first time. This Saturday’s event at Arthur Square in New Norfolk will be the fourth held by the Derwent Valley Suicide Awareness Group.

Starting at 11am near the bottom corner of the square, opposite the New Norfolk Police Station, the event enables survivors of suicide loss to meet together to find connection, understanding, and hope through shared experience. It acknowledges that when someone is lost to suicide, it has an effect on those who knew and loved them. For those people, the grief and trauma can be especially difficult to handle. The day – on November 21 this year – is all about showing support and love to the survivors of suicide.

Members of the Derwent Valley Suicide Awareness Group have been reflecting on the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on people living in the area. “Certainly, attempted suicides have increased across all ages. There’s no pattern to it,” group member and paramedic Bryce Duggan said.

This view was echoed by the group’s public officer and treasurer, Matt Hill. “COVID-19 has certainly had an impact,” he said. “There are identifiable mental health issues such as depression and anxiety across all age groups.” Sister Carmel of the Catholic parish noted the broader impacts of losing someone to suicide. “It’s not just the adults but children are affected as well and not only in the immediate family,” she said.

international survivors of suicide loss day
Sister Carmel, left, Celia Hooker, Matt Hill and Bruce Duggan at the memorial garden.


The group has created a garden of white roses in Arthur Square, identified by a plaque that was placed in 2017. “When we first started, some of the roses were stolen but that hasn’t happened for a long time. Hopefully people now realise the significance and importance of this garden to others in the community,” Bryce said.

The group meets about four times each year and aims to raise awareness about suicide prevention particularly about how to recognise warning signs and indicators. “We are very fortunate to be supported by Magra Fire Brigade without whose assistance we would not be able to carry out our important work,” said the Reverend Celia Hooker.

The group welcomes new members. For more information contact Julie Triffett on 0488 163 025 or Matt Hill on 0459 096 003. See Saturday’s livestream at

Thanks to Marg Cranney for this information and photos.

international survivors of suicide loss day
The plaque identifying the Derwent Valley Suicide Awareness Group’s garden at Arthur Square.

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