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R U OK? A day of meaning for local community

Members of Lifeline Macarthur and Western Sydney’s Suicide Prevention team participated in the Tharawal Aboriginal Medical Services’ Suicide Prevention and R U OK? Day event on 14 September.

It was a well-attended, successful and fun day, with Tharawal staff members and local mental health services available to have a chat, pass on information and hand out resources.

Uncle Ivan gave a moving Welcome to Country before Alana Rossmann, Tharawal Bubilyii Suicide Prevention Program Coordinator, gave a heartfelt talk about the meaning of the day for the local Aboriginal and Torries Strait Islander community.

The MC, comedian Kevin Kropinyeri, had everyone in stiches while sharing his personal stories of mental health challenges. He skilfully lightened the atmosphere with his comedy, effectively addressing a potentially sensitive subject and leaving everyone in high spirits and laughter.

Uncle Chris (pictured with Sophia Maile, Community Nutritionist/Dietitian at the Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation) planted a waratah, whose flower has been significant in the spiritual and cultural traditions of the Indigenous people of south-eastern Australia.

The waratah flower represents healing, transformation, and vitality. For many Aboriginal cultures, it is associated with the purification of the spirit and the cleansing of negative energies. In addition, the flower is believed to have protective qualities, warding off evil spirits and malicious energies.

Author and educator Kylie Captain spoke about resilience and the importance of checking in with mob and with mates.

A memorial chair was unveiled to acknowledge World Suicide Prevention Day 2023 and to provide a culturally safe space to sit and remember those loved ones lost to suicide.

Lifeline Macarthur and Western Sydney’s stall was popular, with Wendy and Anne engaging in some great discussions with local community members and service providers.

Local drag queen Felicia Fox helped to keep the crowd entertained.

Tharawal staff and community members had walked from Glenfield station to Minto McDonalds on Sunday 10 September to raise awareness.

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