Suicide support for Bundaberg
DON Cook knows what it is like to lose a loved one to the heartbreak of suicide.
That’s why he’s starting a new suicide prevention and bereavement group, under the auspices of the Salvation Army, which will launch in Bundaberg next week.
Mr Cook’s 48-year-old son, Ray, took his own life earlier this year, leaving his family shattered.
“We had our son leave us this year, so we know what people are going through,” he said.
“You just don’t see these things coming. He seemed to be enjoying himself.”
The suicide prevention group is already in place in other Salvation Army branches around Australia, but Bundaberg members have decided to introduce it locally because they felt there was a need for it.
Mr Cook, chaplain of Bundaberg’s Salvation Army Tom Quinn Community Centre, said the group would be launched with the help of former NSW policemen Gary Raymond and Alan Staines, who founded the suicide prevention group for the Salvation Army nationally.
“There is a problem (with suicide) in Bundaberg,” Mr Cook said.
“We will eventually have trained counsellors, and professionals will be coming from as far as Sydney.”
The creation of the group comes after it emerged recently that there had been six suicides in the small town of Eidsvold in the past 14 months — more than 60 times the national average.
Mr Cook said he hoped the support group would allow attendees to open up and share their experiences with other people affected by the tragedy.
“If people have got problems, we hope they’ll talk to us,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent, a grandparent, an uncle, a cousin; it affects every one of them.”
According to the Hope for Life website, the site devoted to the Salvos’ suicide prevention and bereavement support, suicide affects more than 16,000 Australians each year.
Anyone interested in attending the group can turn up on Monday night, or call Mr Cook for more information on 4152 3421.
The Bundaberg Salvation Army’s Suicide Prevention and Bereavement Services Group will hold its first meeting at the Salvation Army Citadel at 48 Targo St, on Monday, September 27, at 7pm.