Virtual garden bringing hope in COVID-19 | The Canberra Times

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Lifeline plans to send a powerful message to those struggling during the pandemic inviting them to visit a virtual garden and plant a message of hope. Lifeline Australia chairman John Brogden says coronavirus restrictions have heightened the need to demonstrate support and provide a safe space for those affected by suicide to mourn and reflect. More than 3000 Australians die from suicide every year, with each life lost leaving families, friends, colleagues and communities devastated, he says. World Suicide Prevention Day is on Thursday – a day when Lifeline brings communities together through its Out of the Shadows events. Community walks take place at sunrise to mourn loved ones lost to suicide and reduce the stigma by bringing suicide into the light. However, this year physical distancing restrictions means Lifeline is encouraging Australians to visit a virtual reflective garden to plant a flower and leave a message of remembrance or support, to show those who are struggling that they are not alone. “The COVID-19 restrictions are exacerbating isolation, there are many left to grieve or struggle with their thoughts alone,” Mr Brogden said. “The things we used to keep busy with can often no longer be done. Many of our opportunities for connecting with others have been removed.” “So this year, we are calling on every Australian to make this garden bloom and help Lifeline send the clearest signal yet to those who are struggling that they are not alone.” To visit the virtual garden, go to outoftheshadows.org.au. People are also invited to safely hold private reflective sunrise walks to observe in accordance with COVID-19 physical distancing restrictions. Lifeline 13 11 14 beyondblue 1300 22 4636 Australian Associated Press

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