Good turnout for awareness walk

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In the lead-up to Saturday’s Hope Walk for Suicide Awareness organiser Michelle Hamlin was not sure what to think.
‘I never knew how high the suicide rate in New Zealand
was until now,
She spent the week worrying about how the weather would be and if anyone would turn up.
Mrs Hamlin was overwhelmed with the turnout for the walk with about 120 turning up in bright yellow to raise awareness for the often taboo subject.
Participants walked from the Gore Gardens to near Hyde St before looping back to the gardens where speeches took place.
Mrs Hamlin thanked those who came to support the cause which would now be an annual event.
‘‘A pastor named Joseph from Auckland started Hope Walk after being affected by suicide, so when my dad took his life a few months ago I decided that I wanted to get the message out there that there is help available and it is OK to ask for it,’’ Mrs Hamlin said.
‘‘I never knew how high the suicide rate in New Zealand was until now but I guess it’s like most things, until it affects you personally you turn a blind eye. So even though my family and I have to go through this horrible time I’m hoping that organising this walk will help to stop other families having to go through the same thing,’’ she said.
Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks was at the event and gave his support for the walk.
Mrs Hamlin also thanked Vanessa Andrews from Gore and District Depression Support Group, Andrae Gold from Public Health South, Eleanor Ranstead from Mind Matters and Clutha/ Southland MP Todd Barclay for his message of support.
She said a nationwide day was in the works, where all those spreading awareness of suicide could put together their events on the same day.