Passion for Purpose
Passion in your life brings a sense of purpose in your day. Whatever you are passionate about will help you understand your values in life - if you know what brings you excitement and meaning you can choose more of it to experience.
If you were to ask us A Stitch in Time about who we are and what we do, we could share the stories of the last few years. We could show you photos, videos, emails and messages from people choosing to have honest conversations about their question, struggles and their pain. We could bring you along to forums and conferences, to high schools for our workshops and sporting organisations for our presentations; to all the places we go to talk about hope and help - to let people know they’re not alone. We could introduce you to our fantastic team of volunteers who spent countless amount of hours trying to create a change; trying to make an impact, trying to spark a conversation. If you have an hour, we could spend those 60 minutes telling you all the things we do and dream of doing. If you have a day, we could spend an entire day.
If you were to ask for all of it summed up, one dream above the rest, the heart of the matter in a sentence or a word, we would offer this:
Lives are not just a number
To fully comprehend the magnitude and seriousness of the numbers involved I thought it would be purposeful to discuss the items below -
According to the World Health Organization, 800,000 people die by suicide globally each year.
That’s one person every 40 seconds.
In 2016, 2866 lives lost to suicide – on average that is 8 a day.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 44 years of age.
Young Australians are more likely to take their own life than die in motor vehicle accidents.
1 in 7 Primary School Kids experience Mental Health issues, and 1 in 5 Adults will experience Mental Health problems this year. 1 in 4 Adolescents experience ill Mental Health and 65% of Adolescents will not seek help for Mental Illness.
These are just some of the numbers we are trying to change!
Our latest initiative in creating an apparel line is in the hopes it will aid in organic conversations about mental health; allowing people to feel safe and for others to reach out to those that may be seeking help. We want people to question the numbers on the logo; we want them to ask the importance of the number ‘8’ and the numbers surrounding it…because as soon as that question is asked it is the beginning of a conversation about suicide and more importantly suicide prevention.
We can only genuinely begin to tackle this vicious monster when we are prepared to recognise the true impact suicide has and the sheer destruction it causes families, friends, sporting teams, businesses and communities across the country.
Talking about suicide could be a life changing conversation. Talking about suicide could be a life saving conversation. Let’s have the conversations, let’s create safe environments for these conversations to happen as often as possible, and let’s support our loved ones living with Mental Health conditions and let’s stamp out stigma.
I genuinely believe suicide is a preventable outcome in a moment of crisis.
When we launched A Stitch in Time in 2014 we were predominately an organisation that was created to raise funds for Youth Focus. Since that time the organisation has grown significantly, and whilst the message has always stayed the same, our vision remained constant. We wanted to educate individuals on the importance of Mental Health through the implementation of various programs, and through workshops we wanted to reinforce the motion that each life is valued. We all have the ability to listen and not judge, to create conversations, which could ultimately save lives, and to assist each other in receiving help if required. Many of us have either been personally impacted by a mental illness, or know someone that has; awareness around Mental Health has developed significantly though the numbers are still alarming. My passion in the Mental Health space stemmed from not wanting any adolescents to go down that same path that I exhibited as a teenager. It grew from wanting to become educated so I could assist family members who were suffering from a mental illness. When the toughest’ people succumb to a mental illness, it reaffirmed the misconception that is particularly false - but when a ten year old took her own life in March of 2016 in the community of Looma, I made a promise that I would try and do everything possible with the help of A Stitch in Time to make sure that lives are valued and are as seen as more than just a number. It made me angry and hurt - I was furious! I still cannot fathom how a young girl felt so hopeless that she believed the best option was to take her own life. Irrespective of any circumstances, for a young life to be lost in that way filled my heart with sorrow. A girl who should have been playing with dolls decided her world was so bleak she no longer wanted to live. Look at your children today and think about that. Then ask: how we can possibly look away?
And that is why each day I continuously work to try and make an impact; it’s that purpose that fuels me. During my first trip to the Kimberley to the communities of Derby and Looma it was clearly apparent to myself that I was naïve and uneducated in the understandings of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders history, culture and perspectives, and can be honest in my assessment and say I still am. There have been some people along this journey that I’ve grown to admire and truly respect. I was fortunate enough to meet Dr. Tracy Westerman during the Western Australian of the Year Presentations. To witness her passion as she spoke about spending over two decades working to reduce mental illness in Aboriginal people and ensure minimum standards of cultural competence in her profession was inspiring. Dr. Westerman has trained more than 20,000 clinicians in culturally-appropriate psychological approaches and delivered her suicide intervention programs into remote Aboriginal communities throughout Australia, and to see her justly rewarded for her outstanding work was definitely pleasing.
It’s common knowledge that I’m a keen social media user and Dameyon Bonson (@DameyonBonson) is another individual I truly admire. Dameyon Bonson has worked in many remote Aboriginal communities towards the prevention of Indigenous suicide. He is the Founder of Black Rainbow- a social enterprise in the prevention of Indigenous LGBQTI suicide and self-harm. In 2016 he received the Dr Yunupingu Award for Human Rights for his work to date. It’s individuals like Dr. Tracy Westerman and Dameyon Bonson whose knowledge and opinions have shaped my values and encouraged my desire to further my education into Aboriginal and Torres Strait affairs. Individuals like Trevor Menmuir Sr, Trevor Menmuir Jr, Adam Desmond & Phil Walley-Stack have inspired me to undoubtedly pursue my passion in using A Stitch in Time to successfully collaborate with reputable and inspiring organisations/individuals to actively promote the importance of Mental Health with the pursuit of personal development through Mentoring Programs. Collaboration is vital, collaboration is key, why compete when we are all fighting a central cause.
I wake up every day genuinely excited about the possibility of being able to positively impact another persons life.
I want to share my story and others, the many mistakes, the pain, the hurt, the lessons learned & ultimately the challenges faced because I want to help people.
I want to offer them hope when all hope seems lost.
I want to show that mental health conditions don’t discriminate and they can affect anyone of us – even the ‘strongest’ will struggle. The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about.
I want these people to know I will proudly stand beside them, with them and amongst them and that they are not alone.
I want to be the light at the end of a dark tunnel that refuses to go out.
I have no way of knowing who and how many people are watching, reading or listening to my messages, but over time I’ve developed some incredible friendships.
It’s humbling to think you can have such a positive and profound effect on another human being, but when a stranger you have never met reaches out to thank you for impacting their life, clearly they are watching, listening and reading when they needed it most.
This is a major reason I wake up every morning in excitement and keep doing what I do.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide phone Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you or someone you know needs help, phone SANE Australia Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263) or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. Young people seeking support can phone beyondblue on 1300 22 4636 or go to headspace.org.au . If in case of an emergency please call 000