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Australia looks to Grassroots

Hi, my name is Bernie and I’m from Perth, Western Australia. I’m here in Brighton learning from Grassroots as part of an international scholarship. I first heard about Grassroots from a friend in Australia. What I thought really made Grassroots quite unique was their drive to engage the community in open, honest and direct talk about suicide.

I believe that as a community, it is the people that live in that community that can make the biggest difference to making their community suicide safer. I believe the best way to do this is to reduce the stigma that still surrounds suicide.

Grassroots share that same belief – this led me to choose to come to work alongside the team in Brighton for four weeks as part of The Alice Kingsnorth Scholarship in collaboration with my workplace AnglicareWA. Alice took her own life when she was nineteen and her family often talk about her giving and caring nature and their belief that had she not ended her life she would have gone on to do work that involved caring for her community. In honour of Alice and others like her whose pain has led them to die by suicide, I believe we can all make a difference in reducing the stigma that still prevents so many people from seeking help.

The Grassroots team is small and dynamic – they are innovative, passionate and courageous.  A small team working alone can’t make as much difference as a whole community working together and this is why Grassroots have achieved so much in a short period of time – they believe that each and every member of their community can do their bit to create a suicide safer community by engaging in Real Talk about suicide.

When I return to my own community in Western Australia I’ll be taking some of that passion and learning with me and modelling the great work that is happening in the suicide prevention space here in Brighton & Hove.