Com­mu­nity walks for hope on Sun­day

Manawatu Guardian - - STEPPING OUT -

Hope Walk Manawatu¯ will host an­other com­mu­nity walk on Sun­day at 1pm.

The 3km walk will take place through the leafy trails of the Vic­to­ria Es­planade Gar­dens, and along the Manawatu¯ river­side walk­way.

The Hope Walk Sui­cide Preven­tion Move­ment was started in Auck­land in 2016, as a re­sponse to New Zealand’s high sui­cide sta­tis­tics — which leave be­hind an even higher num­ber of bereaved fam­ily, friends and co­work­ers. Since then, many cities through­out New Zealand have started their own vol­un­teer-run preven­tion walks. Palmer­ston North’s first Hope Walk was held in March last year and 300 peo­ple joined the walk.

This year the com­mu­nity will be joined by ac­tor and TV’s 7 Days reg­u­lar, Cori Gon­za­lez-Macuer, who will be help­ing to spread the sui­cide aware­ness and preven­tion mes­sage at the Palmer­ston North event.

Hope Walk Manawatu¯ or­gan­iser Katina Hughes said the walk was to let those peo­ple who were strug­gling or griev­ing to know they were not alone.

“Hope Walk events of­fer fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als af­fected by sui­cide a place to con­nect with their com­mu­nity.

“The pur­pose of these walks is all about sup­port, heal­ing and break­ing the stigma and shame as­so­ci­ated with ask­ing for help.

Katina said sta­tis­tics showed that with­out ad­e­quate sup­port, those bereaved by sui­cide were at higher risk for de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety them­selves.

Katina lost a brother to sui­cide in 2009 and says the com­mu­nity con­nec­tion is so im­por­tant to com­bat the isolation that is felt when we are strug­gling.

The Palmer­ston North City Coun­cil­sup­ported event will start and fin­ish in­side the Vic­to­ria Es­planade Gar­dens Park Rd en­trance. Par­tic­i­pants are asked to meet at 1pm and wear yel­low — the colour of hope.

More in­for­ma­tion is on the HopeWalk Manawatu¯ Face­book page. www.face­book.com/hope­walk­manawatu

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