Yellow Ribbon memorial walk to remember loved ones lost to suicide

Edward ScownGeraldton Guardian
Ros Worthington and Sarah Collins are walking the memory loved ones lost to suicide
Camera IconRos Worthington and Sarah Collins are walking the memory loved ones lost to suicide Credit: Picture: Edward Scown

The Geraldton community is being urged to get behind a memorial walk tonight and support people who share an unspoken tragic bond — losing a loved one to suicide.

Mid West Yellow Ribbon for Life has brought Lifeline WA and Geraldton Rotary Club on board to host the twilight event along Midalia Beach.

Yellow Ribbon for Life is a not-for-profit organisation that runs support groups, and training programs, educating participants to recognise early warning signs.

The aim is to see mental health issues treated before they reach crisis point.

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Lifeline ambassador Ros Worthington, who lost her husband to suicide in 2002 and has organised similar suicide awareness walks, said the event fostered an “unspoken union” between attendees.

“People wouldn’t say a word ... I’d look at someone, they’d look at me, and I’d just walk over and give them a hug. Nobody needed to talk,” she said.

Mid West Yellow Ribbon secretary Sarah Collins became involved with the organisation after she took part in an eight-week bereavement group following her mother’s suicide.

“I remember one day, driving along, kids fighting in the back of the car as kids do, and I started punching the car ... that’s when I recognised something wasn’t right,” she said.

“It provided me with support with people who were walking the same walk.”

Ms Collins said at the time of her mother’s death, eight years ago, there was little support in the Mid West. Events like the memorial walk are her way of being the change she wants to see.

“It was difficult, because people don’t know what to say,” she said.

Since then Ms Collins believed people, especially men, were more comfortable when talking about mental health issues.

She said 60 per cent of men sought help a year prior to their death. The problem they are now focused on is how men could be helped differently.

“Men do talk, and they want to talk, but what they’re receiving is not adequate,” she said.

“A farmer who’s 60 or 70 years old, you say, ‘How does that make you feel?’ What do you think he’s going to say.”

Tonight’s walk starts at 5.30pm on Midalia Beach, followed by a barbecue held by Rotary Club.

Lifeline: 13 11 14

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