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Border communities mark winter solstice

Member’s statement

Tania MAXWELL (Northern Victoria) (09:46): 

This year’s winter solstice was last night, Tuesday, 21 June, a time when people from Albury and surrounding areas gathered at QEII Square in Albury to speak about the grief of losing a loved one and to comfort each other.

The Winter Solstice was created to encourage conversations, to assist in de-stigmatising the issue of suicide and to provide an event where people could come together in a supporting environment. They gather on the darkest night of the year to share stories, to talk about their memories and to remember those they have lost.

Nine Australians die every day by suicide; 75 per cent of those who take their lives are male. More than 65,000 Australians make a suicide attempt every year. These are horrendous statistics.

Many of us have been touched in some way by losing someone to suicide, and it often leaves those left behind feeling a sense of guilt, bewilderment and great sadness. I urge anyone out there today and from this day forward to reach out if you have suicidal ideation. Your pain can be alleviated in other ways. You are worthy, and you can seek the support you require to empower your fragile mind. Let us all continue these important conversations and encourage people to speak up and speak out, for we have lost far too many lives already.