NALAG a ‘great investment for government’: MP
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.
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