Sean Stapleton 04/05/2017 Hope Walk
By Sean Stapleton
Hope is afoot as New Zealanders are marching across the country in a movement to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention.
The charity, HopeWalk, just held a march in association with Voices of Hope in the Auckland Domain on the 29th of April, with over 600 attendees turning out to walk.
The march covered five kilometers and 79 meters as they looped through the domain, as a symbol of the 579 lives lost to suicide in the last coroner’s report.
HopeWalk is a charitable trust, dedicated to suicide awareness and prevention events. They held their first event in February of 2016, in the form of a march from Manakau to Papakura.
Prior to starting the march, organiser Joseph Fa’afiu, addressed the crowd.
“How many of us here today have lost a someone in our lives to suicide?”
In a silent display, hundreds lifted their hands to indicate they had lost loved ones.
Following the march, founders of Voices of Hope, Jazz Thornton and Genevieve More, spoke reinforcing the message of the event. The pair went on to share with the crowd details from their own journey with mental health.
“Without sharing, change can’t be made,” said More. Pressing that to fight the stigma of depression, New Zealanders need be more open about their mental health.
HopeWalk was established by Fa’afiu, after he lost a close friend to suicide in 2010. The organisation runs marches all across New Zealand from Invercargill to Auckland.
If this article brought up any issues for you call
Life line 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787
Depression helpline: 0800 111 757
HopeWalk can be found at http://www.hopewalk.nz
Voices of hope can be found at http://www.thevoicesofhope.org