NALAG a ‘great in­vest­ment for govern­ment’: MP

Dubbo Photo News - - News - By JOHN RYAN

TRUDY Han­son has spent much of her life help­ing peo­ple deal with grief, but as CEO of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for Loss and Grief (NALAG), she said she was over­whelmed with joy at the com­mu­nity sup­port for the group’s an­nual aware­ness-rais­ing march through the streets of Dubbo on Satur­day.

“What’s hap­pen­ing here to­day has been hap­pen­ing for 11 years – this is the NALAG Walk To­wards Hope. We’re bring­ing com­mu­nity to­gether to talk about sui­cide, to raise aware­ness and to have some con­ver­sa­tions around be­ing able to sup­port peo­ple through sui­cide,” Mrs Han­son said.

“We look at some of the pro­tec­tive fac­tors and we know that be­long­ing to a group and con­nect­ing with peo­ple is re­ally im­por­tant. There’s prob­a­bly 200 to 300 peo­ple here and when you think of the post side of that, these peo­ple are griev­ing some­one that they’ve lost to sui­cide.

“We say that for ev­ery per­son who’s griev­ing there’s 10 oth­ers that have been af­fected by that, so that’s huge.

“At NALAG, we be­lieve that sui­cide prevention is everybody’s busi­ness, and this is our way of bring­ing com­mu­nity to­gether in Dubbo as a com­mu­nity ser­vice,” she told Dubbo Photo News.

NALAG has been grow­ing more vis­i­ble in the past year and has been busy sup­port­ing other groups and or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Tradies In Sight as well as or­gan­i­sa­tions and towns work­ing in ar­eas rav­aged by the current drought.

Mrs Han­son says NALAG has been around for 42 years, born out of the tragedy of the Granville train dis­as­ter in 1977, and be­lieves the fund­ing they’ve re­ceived from the health min­istry has en­abled them to do so much more than ever be­fore.

“We’re do­ing a lot of sup­port in the drought ar­eas.

“We’re run­ning events and I guess in the big scheme of things, ours is not a clin­i­cal ser­vice, it’s a very ‘com­mu­nity’ ser­vice where we bring peo­ple to­gether and chat in non-in­tru­sive ways – and that’s what’s hap­pen­ing with the drought is­sue, there’s tremen­dous things hap­pen­ing for pre­vent­ing sui­cide in drought-af­fected ar­eas,” Mrs Han­son said.

“Be­cause NALAG has the runs on the board, the min­is­ter knew that we could con­nect to com­mu­ni­ties and we were ap­proached to roll that fund­ing out to the drought-af­fected ar­eas.

“When you look at the ar­eas that Dubbo works from, we work in Wil­can­nia, we’re work­ing in Bourke, Bre­war­rina and out west, I mean, those ar­eas are known to us.”

Mem­ber for Dubbo Du­gald Saunders joined in the march, say­ing he couldn’t be more proud of the crew who do so much to help peo­ple when they’re at their most vul­ner­a­ble.

“This is one of the groups that makes a real dif­fer­ence to peo­ples’ lives, we know that. I’ve had a long as­so­ci­a­tion with NALAG and un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate the work that they do, and to­day is re­ally about let­ting peo­ple know that that work con­tin­ues.

“It’s about hope, we are walk­ing to­wards hope, and that’s a great thing,” Mr Saunders said.

“It’s great to see a re­ally good crowd turnout to­day to sup­port what is an or­gan­i­sa­tion that flies a lit­tle bit un­der the radar, but there’s more and more aware­ness about the need for this sort of or­gan­i­sa­tion in our lives.”

Mr Saunders be­lieves NALAG’S strong track record proves it’s a great in­vest­ment for govern­ment.

“It’s one of those things where there are dif­fer­ent buck­ets of money that could go to­wards groups like NALAG. I’ve had chats with Trudy about pos­si­bil­i­ties into the fu­ture and there’s al­ways dif­fer­ent ways of go­ing about ap­proach­ing fund­ing sources, so the state and fed­eral gov­ern­ments are def­i­nitely keen to make sure groups like NALAG con­tinue to do the work they do. A lot of the work they do is not re­ally known so we need to make sure that they’re sup­ported in lots of dif­fer­ent ways,” Mr Saunders said.

“Part of what NALAG has shown in the last six to 12 months is around the work they’re do­ing with the De­part­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries (DPI), get­ting out and do­ing the Our Shout type stuff which is so im­por­tant for the men­tal health of our farm­ers and our land­hold­ers.

“What they’ve done is show that they can diver­sify and reach dif­fer­ent groups.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant to en­sure that groups like NALAG are vi­able into the fu­ture,” he said.

ON Satur­day, Septem­ber 7, hun­dreds gathered for NALAG Dubbo’s 2019 Walk To­wards Hope. All made the short walk across L.H. Ford Bridge to West Dubbo Li­ons Park for a re­mem­ber­ing cer­e­mony and bal­loon re­lease in the windy con­di­tions. A bar­be­cue fol­lowed.

It’s hard to put into words just how im­por­tant this com­mu­nity gath­er­ing is.

PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS

Mem­ber for Dubbo Du­gald Saunders and NALAG’S CEO Trudy Han­son at Satur­day’s Walk To­wards Hope in Dubbo.

Walk To­wards Hope Dubbo 2019 Walk To­wards Hope Dubbo 2019 Amanda Howlett, San­dra Sense Ginny Noke, Mar­tika Hig­gins Sheree Charl­ton, Jacob Frazer, Danielle Bonser, Heather Bonser

Right: Nat O’brien, Ali­cia Hafoka, Deb Taylor, Georgie-anne Pom­fret

Left: Back, Joan, Shiree, Clancy, Denni, front, Shan­non, Shy­lah, Paislee

Rhonda Kemp­ston, Trudy Han­son, Bev Pilon

Daryl Rodda, Michael Har­rod, Ben Rodda, Rob Morris

Niko­lai Cox, Mon­tana Brown, Alexis Cox

Brenda Baker, Kerry-lyn Strain, Shelly Carolan

Luis Perez-mora (VRA), Vince Har­land (VRA)

Ben­jamin Cains, Jo Eather, Car­men Har­ris

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