Beechworth pair advances awareness
LIFTING the lid on mental health and suicide prevention is at the heart of ongoing awareness campaigns for two local residents in Beechworth.
Suicide survivor Liz Archer recently helped raise awareness during Mental Health Week as part of her work at Beechworth Pharmacy.
Ms Archer said she was able to help others through her own experience in dealing with severe depression.
She said there should be no stigma attached to those who suffer from what can be a common condition.
“It shouldn’t be looked at in a negative way as it is no different to having something like diabetes,” Ms Archer said.
“It’s something you can’t control, and people ( affected by it) need someone to listen to them.”
She said people could look happy on the outside by putting on a good front.
“Thinking past yourself and remembering your family is so important as suicide leaves massive destruction for them,” she said.
Ms Archer said the first step to recovery was to acknowledge “I’m not okay” and seek help – although such a step can be difficult to take.
“Sometimes a problem shared is a problem solved or at least half solved,” she said.
Ms Archer said that she was always available with all pharmacy staff to listen to people who needed help and to point them in to other care services.
Among those are Beyond Blue and Lifeline.
Beechworth’s Lisa Cartledge, who lost her husband, Sean, her father and an uncle to suicide, is on a mission to raise suicide awareness when she walks from Beechworth to Sydney Harbour Bridge – or ‘B2B’ – at the end of March next year.
The 700-kilometre walk across four weeks, with conversations along the way, will help raise funds for research and prevention.
“We need to start removing the stigma attached to mental health and suicide to let people know that it’s okay to say ‘I’m not ok’,” Lisa said.
“The problem is nobody can ‘see’ mental health.”
Lisa said she believed that stigma surrounded mental health and suicide because deep depression is misunderstood.
“It makes society in general feel uncomfortable with the unfortunate misconception that people who take their own lives made a ‘choice’,” she said.
“For me it’s about my kids, our family and friends being allowed to remember Sean without the uncomfortable silence and loss of eye contact – ‘the elephant in the room’.”
Lisa’s walk – supported by fundraising activities of organisations around the town – includes a fundraiser with sparkle and glitz.
The ‘Great Gatsby Night’ is being held at the Old Priory in Beechworth on November 25.
“the support received has been awesome,” Lisa said.
She said that the B2B team welcomed walkers or anyone who wanted to help to join them.
Funds raised are destined for charities such as Beyond Blue.
Lisa and one of her sons, Tom, are tackling the Kokoda Trail from this week until mid-November as part of B2B walk training.
“This has been in credit since April 2014 as Sean and I were due to do it together,” she said.
Lisa said it was important for people suffering depression to talk to loved ones, friends, doctors or call support organisations such as Lifeline, Headspace or Beyond Blue.
Statistics show that about 3000 Australians die from suicide every year.
It is estimated to be one of the leading causes of death among Australians aged 15 to 44.
It is also believed that up to 90,000 people attempt to take their own lives every year.
OPENNESS: Beechworth Pharmacy’s Liz Archer (right), helped by Kerrie Klippel, raised mental health and suicide prevention awareness during Mental Health Week by promoting support organisations such as Beyond Blue and distributing information to help people who suffer depression.
AWARENESS WALK: Beechworth’s Lisa Cartledge, who lost her husband Sean (above) to suicide in 2014, is on a mission to raise awareness and funds for research and prevention.