People lost to suicide remembered

By Sonya Bateson

Lynne Russell at a memorial service which was part of National Suicide Prevention Day. Photo/Joel Ford
Lynne Russell at a memorial service which was part of National Suicide Prevention Day. Photo/Joel Ford

Balloona were released on the Tauranga Waterfront last night in memory of loved ones lost to suicide.

Releasing the balloons was the finale of a suicide memorial service presented by Grief Support Services in conjunction with World Suicide Day that was attended by about 50 local people who have been touched by suicide.

After the service, the Bay of Plenty Times spoke to a young Tauranga mother, who lost her husband last year, just months after giving birth to a baby girl.

Yesterday would have been his 40th birthday and she released a balloon in his memory. "I think (he) felt pressured when she was born, he didn't have a nice childhood and I think he was scared the same thing could happen to our child."

She became involved with Grief Support Services after his death and still made use of them when she had a down day.

"They changed my life, it was great to talk about it. I've met a friend through them the same age as me and in a very similar situation, I can give her a call and we will get together and have a chat or a cry."

The woman's mother said it had also been a hard time for her and now she wanted to help other people.

Three people from around the country who were directly affected by suicide spoke at the service.

Dr Lynne Russell from Victoria University said in her family, nine people had been lost to suicide, including her husband in 2008.

Dr Sarah Gordon from Otago University made a suicide attempt at age 34 but was revived by paramedics.

Warren Brown began the Hawke's Bay Suicide Support Group after his 25-year-old son killed himself in 2009.

All three speakers addressed the utter grief and helplessness felt by the families and friends of suicide victims; and how it still impacted them all in their day to day lives.

The speakers all addressed how important it was to have people there to support them through thick and thin, and how more people died by suicide each year than in car crashes.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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