AN­THONY WANTS PEO­PLE TO STEP OUT OF THE SHAD­OWS

Join Com­mu­nity News­pa­per Group in sup­port­ing the Step­ping Out of the Shad­ows cam­paign to raise $1 mil­lion for Life­line WA. We are en­cour­ag­ing our one mil­lion read­ers* to do­nate $10 each. Visit www.life­linewa.org.au.

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By DENISE S. CAHILL

AN­THONY Fisk knew one of his best friends – an un­cle to his three chil­dren – kept se­crets but never thought it would lead to sui­cide.

“His fam­ily didn’t know he was gay,” the West Perth res­i­dent said.

Mr Fisk’s friend took his life in Fe­bru­ary, shock­ing his clos­est friends.

“I thought you could ob­serve some­one and iden­tify it quite easy,” he said. “What shocked me with him was how no one could have pre­dicted it.

“If he had of reached out to some­one, we could have helped him. We want to en­cour­age peo­ple to reach out and talk about their ex­pe­ri­ence; what seems huge to you may not seem so big once you’ve shared it.”

Mr Fisk and his friends have united with phi­lan­thropist Ros Wor­thing­ton to launch the Step­ping

Out of the Shad­ows cam­paign that aims to raise $1 mil­lion for Life­line WA by the end of June.

Money raised will help Life­line train at least 120 new tele­phone cri­sis vol­un­teers ev­ery year and in­vest in mar­ket­ing cam­paigns to re­cruit enough vol­un­teers to an­swer ev­ery call to the 13 11 14 line. Mr Fisk said Life­line vol­un­teers com­pleted hun­dreds of hours of train­ing learn­ing about groups, like the LGBTI com­mu­nity.

The friends hosted a lunch in Postal Hall at COMO The Trea­sury on Sun­day, rais­ing about $5000.

For Mr Fisk, Out of the Shad­ows is about more than just reach­ing out for help.

“It’s for peo­ple who have been af­fected by sui­cide and shar­ing what im­pact the death has had,” he said. “We want more peo­ple to step out of the shad­ows and share their ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Mr Fisk’s mo­ti­va­tion for rais­ing aware­ness is his young chil­dren, two-year-old daugh­ter Ce­leste and three-month-old twins Ju­lian and Iris.

“I think a lot about if it were my chil­dren,” he said. “We’ve al­ways been very open about dis­cussing feel­ings with them.

“Par­ents can help, friends and fam­ily can en­cour­age con­ver­sa­tion; check in with peo­ple.”

Since his friend’s death, Mr Fisk has set up the Gay Perth Sui­cide Aware­ness Face­book page to raise aware­ness of gay sui­cide.

*Source: em­matm con­ducted by Ip­sos Me­di­act for 12 months end­ing Jan­uary – Read­ers in Last 4 Weeks. Nielsen DRM.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d469315

An­thony Fisk has launched Out of the Shad­ows to help raise aware­ness of sui­cide.

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