Surfers paddle to raise awareness at Merewether ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day

It was a crack of dawn effort to raise awareness about a cause close to the hearts of many.

About 50 surfers paddled their way off Merewether Beach on Sunday morning on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day – held on Monday.

Aside from the surfers, organiser Rachel Henshaw said about another 100 people supported the event through a sausage sizzle and t-shirt stand.

Ms Henshaw lost her older brother more than two decades ago, when she was a teenager.

She has created an awareness group called Another Sunrise, which aims to promote the path towards prevention.

Lifespan Newcastle and Everymind has offered paddle out participants a complimentary online suicide prevention training program called QPR – Question, Persuade, Refer.

In the lead up to R U OK? Day, the Newcastle Herald is teaming up with Everymind to motivate the community to learn these suicide prevention skills via a series of stories called Let’s Talk Newcastle.

The aim of the training is to dispel the myths around suicide, and help people on the ground in the community recognise the signs and respond appropriately.

World Suicide Prevention Day has been held annually since 2003.

Ms Henshaw said she wanted to thank several groups and organisations that helped make Sunday’s paddle happen. 

She said these Merewether Surf Life Saving Club, Sehez Group, Newcastle Surf School, Woolworths, Eggbeater Productions, Roses in the Ocean, Suicide Prevention Australia, Silverchair, Zulu Graphics, Atelier Photography, Outrun the Dark, Spark Coaching, Merewether Surfboard Club, Beach Hotel “and our friends and family”.

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