Headspace Wollongong youth volunteers walk on September 15 to bring suicide prevention 'into the light'

WALKING FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION: headspace Youth Reference Group volunteers Corey De Bruin, Max Rowland, Jess Mahoney and Katie Newton will walk to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Picture: Robert Peet
WALKING FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION: headspace Youth Reference Group volunteers Corey De Bruin, Max Rowland, Jess Mahoney and Katie Newton will walk to raise awareness about suicide prevention. Picture: Robert Peet

Her mental health is an ‘’ongoing journey’’ but Katie Newton is now in a good place.

Nevertheless the 23-year-old isn’t afraid to ask for help and wants other young people battling depression and anxiety to do the same.

That’s why Katie will join fellow headspace Wollongong Youth Reference Group members in a walk to bring suicide prevention into the light.

To be held in Wollongong on Friday, September 15, the third annual walk hopes to raise awareness and encourage conversations about suicide prevention in our community.

‘’We’d like to get the message out there that it’s okay to ask for help,’’ Katie said.

‘’Whether you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide yourself, or you’re concerned about a friend or a family member, there are many places you can get support.’’

Katie turned to her family and friends for help after she was bullied in high school and her mental health suffered.

‘’I also went to headspace, who played a big role in helping me,’’ the Balgownie woman said.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians under the age of 44, and accounts for one in four deaths of young people aged 15-24,

Clementina Velasco

‘’I did experience bullying at school. That was one of the contributing factors, as I think it is for a lot of young people, in high school particularly.

‘’Depression and anxiety are all very common among young people but I want people to know that there is help out there. Even if you feel there is nobody who will listen to you, there is always somebody out there. Professional services like headspace are also crucial.’’

This view is shared by headspace Wollongong senior community engagement officer Clementina Velasco.

‘’Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians under the age of 44, and accounts for one in four deaths of young people aged 15-24,’’ she said.

‘’With World Suicide Prevention Day held on September 10, and RU OK Day on September 14, we’re proud to support our youth volunteers to raise awareness of this important issue and help break down stigma in our community.’’

The walk on Friday begins at 5.15pm (for a 5.30pm start) at North Wollongong Beach.

Local musician Joshua Natoli will perform and there will also be the opportunity to contribute to a banner of hope and pick up information about local services.

Details at www.facebook.com/headspacewollongong

Young people needing help can contact headspace (4220 7660 or headspace.org.au). For immediate support call Lifeline (131 114) or Kids Help Line on 1800 551 800.

Read more: Out of the Shadows and into the Light Walk in Wollongong