Lights shine for fam­i­lies af­fected by sui­cide

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - SHABNAM DASTGHEIB

Moun­tain tops both across New Zealand were lit up on Septem­ber 3 in sol­i­dar­ity with those who had been af­fected by a loved one’s sui­cide.

About 500 peo­ple take their own lives in New Zealand ev­ery year.

The Lights for Lives event was or­gan­ised as a mes­sage of hope for fam­i­lies strug­gling to cope.

Peo­ple were asked to bring their phone, torch or head lamp and shine lights from 5am to 5.30am on 17 peaks around New Zealand in­clud­ing Mt Eden and One Tree Hill.

Joseph Fa’afiu, a pas­tor in Pa­pakura says he wanted the light to pierce through the dark night in a sym­bolic way for those who are strug­gling, as a mes­sage that there is hope.

‘‘Aware­ness brings the op­por­tu­nity to break the stigma, si­lence and shame around sui­cide,’’ he says.

‘‘We don’t speak about it so it has be­come taboo. We want to bring it into the light so we can, as a com­mu­nity, work for bet­ter pre- ven­tion so­lu­tions.’’

Fa’afiu said he hoped the event would be­come an an­nual one.

‘‘There was no judgement, no stigma and no shame around it. I was per­son­ally over­whelmed by the sense of sup­port, the aroha, the love they got from every­body else.’’

line: 0800 543 354 Life-

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