Pamela Biddy’s Story
Over recent months, in my role as Roses in the Ocean’s Communications Officer, I have been reaching out to connect with members of our Lived Experience Collective. I have enjoyed speaking with the wonderful cross section of people working hard to prevent suicide in their communities. On one such occasion I spoke with Pamela Bibby – a member of the Lived Experience Collective who has taken the opportunity provided through Roses in the Ocean training, and an active Murray Primary Health Network, to do some great work in her Mildura community for suicide prevention. This is her story.
Since 2015, Pamela has been involved in the local community through the Murray PHN Northern Mallee Mental Health Alliance (NMMHA). In 2016 Pamela was invited to participate as a lived experience ‘voice’ in the Murray PHN Mildura Place-based Suicide Prevention Trial.
Then in 2018, Murray PHN supported Roses in the Ocean to provide a Voices of In-Sight workshop to the region. Twelve people from the local community attended that workshop with half of them, including Pamela, deciding to join the Murray PHN and form a Lived Experience Advisory Group.
The Murray PHN Mildura Place-based Suicide Prevention Trial then commissioned Wesley Lifeforce to support the establishment of a suicide prevention network in the Mildura community. Thanks to Wesley Lifeforce, Murray PHN and the perseverance of Pamela and the six other lived experience participants from the Voices of In-Sight workshop, the Sunraysia Mallee Suicide Prevention Network came into being.
The Network meets on a monthly basis and has taken part in a number of initiatives. Recent projects include planting an Emu bush at the Garden of Hope. The Emu bush is known for its healing qualities and symbolises that “as a tree continues to grow despite hardships, so too can those who have been affected by suicide”.
The Network has also contributed funds to the Murray PHN to commission Richard Football Club to run Mental Health First Aid training to local sporting clubs.
This year, due to COVID-19, the Network hosted an online “candle of hope” virtual lighting on their new Facebook page for World Suicide Prevention Day and RUOK Day, called “Unified by Hope”. They asked for people to take photos of their candles and share them on their facebook page to join together virtually to light a path through the darkness. A small group from the Network was able to get together to light a candle by the ornamental lake in Mildura.
There is a high level of community support for the Network including the Great Vanilla Slice Triumph fundraising event.
You can find out more about the Sunraysia Mallee Suicide Prevention Network through their Facebook page.
It’s so wonderful to hear of members of the Roses in the Ocean Lived Experience Collective working together to reduce suicide in their local communities.
We would love to hear what’s happening in your local communities and what you are doing to help prevent suicide. Send your stories to email@example.com