With the Higher School Certificate (HSC) a few days away, some of our Australia’s best-known personalities have sent their good luck messages to the Class of 2020.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the year has thrown up plenty of challenges and HSC students have met them with the help of their school, family and friends – and now the broader community wants students to know they have got this.

“This is about reminding students that as they take on the final chapter of the HSC, all of NSW is behind them. From today students will hear from actors, TV personalities, local musicians and sporting stars,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Some will share their tips and advice for staying healthy and focused, while others share how they have overcome adversity – all with the aim of letting students know they can do this.

“With the start of written exams only days away, my message to students is to continue to take care of your wellbeing, reaching out for support or advice if you need it and keeping active. We are all behind you.”

“Enjoy this milestone, look around and remember there’s a team of people, your family, your friends, your teachers who have got you to this point.” Sally Fitzgibbons, World #1 Australian professional surfer.

“Goodluck to all you amazing students of 2020. Go get em!” Claudia Karvan, Australian actress, producer and scriptwriter

“I wish you all nothing but the best for the future, sending you lots of love.” Australian fashion model, Samantha Harris

Hear from the stars getting behind the Class of 2020 on Twitter and Facebook, visiting the Stay Healthy HSC hub and following #StayHealthyHSC.

Lifeline marks World Suicide Prevention Day, today (September 10), with Out of the Shadows events to remove discrimination and isolation surrounding suicide.

In 2018, the last reporting period, 3,046 lives were lost to suicide in Australia. The World Health Organisation estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds.

“Out of the Shadows’ events allow for a reflective and safe space for those who have lost loved ones to connect with others,” Brad Hannagan, CEO of Lifeline Macarthur and Western Sydney said.

“It is also an opportunity to come together as a community and support those struggling with their own mental health to feel connected.

“COVID-19 restrictions are definitely exacerbating isolation,” Mr Hannagan said.

“In August alone, up to 48 per cent of callers wanted to discuss COVID-19.

This year is the 10th anniversary of holding the Out of the Shadows walk in light of COVID-19 restrictions.

“We have therefore opted for virtual Out of the Shadows initiatives in 2020 to ensure those who are experiencing the impacts of suicide can feel connected and are aware of the support and compassion that is around them and within our community.”

This year’s Out of the Shadows events include virtual walks, a virtual flower garden and Facebook LIVE reflection.

For details on how to participate in Lifeline’s community virtual walks and Facebook LIVE reflection visit www.lifelinemacarthur.org.au/oots2020.

To make a donation and plant a virtual flower in Lifeline Macarthur and Western Sydney’s garden of remembrance go to www.lifelinemacarthur.org.au.

For 24/7 crisis or suicide prevention support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14

Online crisis support chat is also available 7pm – midnight (AEST) 7 days a week: www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.

Today is R U OK?Day, but do you what to say is someone says they are not OK?

It has been a year that many people won’t forget and it is more important than ever to ask the question R U OK, but also be ready to have a conversation.

“We need to be genuine when we ask R U OK?, to let people know we’re there to listen, that we won’t judge them and that people can find pathways to support and recovery when they’re struggling,” R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton said.

“We’re encouraging everyone to learn that there’s more to say after R U OK? because a conversation really can change a life. “We’re calling on Australians who are well and able, to check in with someone, reach out and meaningfully ask are you OK? not just today but every day.

“This is about caring for someone in your world. It’s about looking out for your friends, your family, your colleagues, your neighbours.” In Australia in 2018 3,046 people died by suicide. Suicide is the leading cause of death among people aged 15-44 in Australia and for each life lost the impact is felt by up to 135 others including family members, work colleagues, friends and emergency services workers. Research released by R U OK? show that among those people aware of R U OK? most feel confident they know how to have a conversation with someone who might be struggling with life. However, 31 per cent lack confidence or are unsure they know how to have a conversation with someone who says they are not OK. “We understand that sometimes people might feel a little uncomfortable or awkward if someone says they’re not okay,” said Ms Newton. “But you don’t have to be an expert to keep the conversation going.” R U OK? wants people to become familiar with what to say after hearing “No, I’m not OK” so they can show genuine intent and help someone access appropriate support long before they’re in crisis. Learn what to say next at www.ruok.org.au


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