Ripples of Hope ceremony for those who have lost someone to suicide

REMEMBRANCE WALK: Wagga and Region Suicide Prevention Network president Sandra Schulz and secretary Nola Baker.

REMEMBRANCE WALK: Wagga and Region Suicide Prevention Network president Sandra Schulz and secretary Nola Baker.

A ceremony for people who have lost someone to suicide will include a sunset walk around Lake Albert.

The Ripples of Hope remembrance service will be held in Apex Park at 5.30pm on March 27, followed by the togetherness walk.

It has been organised by the Wagga and Region Suicide Prevention Network, which has existed in the city for almost a decade.

Both the network’s president Sandra Schulz and secretary Nola Baker have lost a son to suicide.

Ms Schulz’s son Scott passed away 11 years ago, while Ms Baker’s son Jarrod died almost 20 years ago.

“The idea of Ripples of Hope for us was to just try to get people together who had had that common experience,” Ms Baker said.

"We just feel it’s a really nice way to remember those who have died and to try to say to those people who are left behind that there is hope.”

“It’s so hard to see that in the immediate aftermath. Your whole life is changed forever and never is going to be the same,” Ms Schulz said.

“You never, ever get over it. But you learn to manage and live with it.”

The Ripples of Hope event is being held for the third time. The first event two years ago was attended by 80 people, with almost as many at the 2017 ceremony.

“The ceremony is quite powerful. It’s quite moving,” Ms Schulz said.

“Losing a child is tragic enough, but losing a loved one to suicide is a grief all on its own. There’s just so many unanswered questions.

“So many people don’t understand. There’s so much judgement, so much stigma.”

Ms Baker said these were all issues that the Suicide Prevention Network was trying to break down.

“And we’ve come a long way,” Ms Schulz said.

Ms Baker said in the two decades since her son died, she had seen improvement in community attitudes.

“When our son died, people weren’t even going to the doctor and it wasn’t being treated as a medical condition,” she said.

“For those that are left behind – I guess because I’m a little bit further down the track than someone else – we are always hopeful that people can look at us and say ‘if they can do this, maybe we can to’.”

For more information, email wwrspn@gmail.com or call 0458 224 430.

For crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or  Access Line on 1800 800 944.