Youth group to visit 30 schools, 7000 stu­dents

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Con­nect, Com­mu­ni­cate, Care is the theme for this year’s World Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Day that will be cel­e­brated to­mor­row. “The theme en­cour­ages our peo­ple to con­nect to ser­vice providers. We must break our cul­ture of si­lence and must cre­ate com­mu­ni­ties of care and ac­cep­tance to build a re­silient na­tion,” pres­i­dent of Youth Champs 4 Men­tal Health Lionel Rogers said. The group was vis­it­ing schools this week around Suva, Lau­toka, and Labasa us­ing cre­ative arts to ad­vo­cate for sui­cide pre­ven­tion and men­tal health. “We will be cov­er­ing 30 schools with over 7000 stu­dents and teach­ers. The project is funded by the Di­rect Aid pro­gramme un­der the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment,” Mr Rogers said.

Life­line ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor, Ar­chana Mani echoed the same sen­ti­ments that sup­port sys­tems from fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties were very im­por­tant to those that were go­ing through the is­sue. Life­line which is an in­de­pen­dent or­gan­i­sa­tion es­tab­lished three years ago, fo­cuses on phone coun­selling with 42 trained vol­un­teers. “In re­gards to aware­ness, the me­dia has played a ma­jor role and the sup­port of the Min­istry of Health has been tremen­dous,” Ms Mani said.

Life­line will be hold­ing a vigil at their of­fice in Waimanu Road (FCOSS Build­ing) at 7.30pm to­mor­row to re­mem­ber those that have lost their lives to sui­cide. Edited by Ru­si­ate Mataika

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