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Pretty much every day, I’m reminded what a privilege it is to serve in my role. Last Tuesday was no exception. After a short light rail journey to the edge of the CBD, I joined some of my Wesley Mission Lifeline Sydney and Sutherland colleagues, together with key University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Graduate School of Health leaders, to launch the first ever Lifeline booth on a NSW university campus. As my friend Andy Moore, who is a General Manager of Wesley Health, Conferences & Education and a Director of Lifeline says, because of this unique partnership UTS health students will be trained and equipped ‘to have lifesaving conversations with each other, family and friends, and with Lifeline callers from across the street and around the country.’ I’m so proud of our Lifeline team for making this happen. Awesome.  

With Professor Debra Anderson, Dean of the Faculty of Health, Professor Toby Newton-John, Head of School, Graduate School of Health and Andy Moore 
With Professor Debra Anderson, Dean of the Faculty of Health, Professor Toby Newton-John, Head of School, Graduate School of Health and Andy Moore 

It’s so apt that such an initiative would be launched in the 60th anniversary year for Lifeline, now a worldwide movement that was pioneered with innovative and creative imagination by Wesley Mission leaders. It’s also timely as later this week we prepare to mark World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10). This important day ‘brings together over 60 countries in a shared mission to promote stigma reduction, advocate for policy change, encourage help seeking, and honour the memories of those lost to suicide, those who have survived suicide attempts, and those who bear the weight of grief.’ (Suicide Prevention Australia)  

In Australia alone around 10 million people have been impacted by suicide. According to statistics compiled by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and Lifeline Australia, suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44. Every day, an average of 8.6 Australians die by suicide – double the road toll. And Australians living in rural areas, as well as indigenous Australians, die by suicide at twice the rate of the rest of the population. Tragic.  

The work Wesley Mission does in harm prevention – through Lifeline Sydney and Sutherland, Lifeforce Suicide Prevention Training and Networks, Older Persons Resilience, After Care, Gamble Aware Helpline and our Financial and Gambling Counsellors – both empowers, and I know saves lives. It’s vital work that lives out and embodies our values of soft hearts (compassion) and hard feet (resilience and perseverance). We do this work, so very hard at times, because every life matters – to God and to us.  

This Friday (September 8 at 12noon) we will host our Sydney Lifeforce Suicide Memorial Service from our vantage point overlooking Sydney Harbour in the Yallamundi rooms of the Sydney Opera House. Hundreds will gather to remember loved ones lost to suicide as we come together as a community of mutual support. It is a holy and sacred space and time. Our Lifeforce team will host a similar event in Brisbane on November 17. Precious times that will flow with profound conversations.  

So, as this week unfolds, please be kind to yourself. You are of inestimable value – precious and unique, not for what you do, but for who you are. Check in with a friend you know, or suspect may be doing it tough. If life is a bit of a struggle for you right now, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Doing so is never weak, but a sign of your inner strength. And always remember that Lifeline is a service that everyone can freely access – 13 11 14

Every blessing,

Rev Stu Cameron
CEO and Superintendent, Wesley Mission

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