Look out for friends and family this Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner and the Grapevine Group is urging the community to check on friends and family this festive season.

While most of us spend this time of the year with our own social circle swapping presents and enjoying the break from work or school, there are some who simply don’t have this in their lives and it is made all that more acute by the festive season.

Grapevine Group President Laurence Manning said it will need a community to make sure our networks are coping with Christmas.

“Christmas is an excellent opportunity to connect with family and friends and look for the warning signs that someone is struggling,” Mr Manning said.

“We encourage everyone to take advantage of this time of year to ask family and friends if they’re ok and in particular be suicide alert.

“Please don’t hesitate to use Grapevine’s comprehensive list of help and support services on our website.”

This year, as with every year since the inception of this campaign, this suicide prevention message has strong support from Mackay Regional Council, with Mayor Greg Williamson saying that the lead up to the Christmas season is a timely reminder that not everyone is as fortunate.

“I’m very lucky—I have my family and friends, but I know that some of our community live by themselves or have lost a partner recently, they might not be seeing their children or find life can just be overwhelming,” Cr Williamson said.

“This Christmas, please make sure you ask that person if they’re ok”.

Passionate supporter of the Grapevine Group, Julieanne Gilbert MP also understands the pressures associated with Christmas.

“For some, Christmas can be a difficult time of the year—it can be a time of loneliness and a breakdown of family relationships,” Ms Gilbert said.

“Let’s all take the time to look out for our friends and loved ones, and take care of each other.”

Federal member George Christensen MP echoed these sentiments.

“The Christmas period can be very high pressure for many—some experience financial stress and others, through relationship breakups, do it tough,” Mr Christensen said.

“It’s easy to get caught up in the festivities and forget to check up on those we generally support, so I urge the community to stop and take the time to ask others if they’re ok and be suicide alert.”

Grapevine Group’s Be Suicide Alert this Christmas campaign promotes via their social media page 16 warning signs to look out for with our family and friends and encourages the community to get involved and support local suicide prevention by posting this information on their own social pages.

This year community leaders have provided videos for social media calling on our community to be suicide alert and asking people to learn the warning signs. Grapevine’s 2018 Christmas campaign had a strong response reaching views in excess of 220,000.
Grapevine hopes that this year, with community support, that their life-saving messages will have a similar impact.

In conjunction with this campaign, 7 Mackay has supported the group with an extensive five-week campaign of TV commercials increasing the awareness of these warning signs and urging the public to keep an eye on family and friends.

The Grapevine Group gratefully acknowledges campaign partners, Run for MI Life and 7 Mackay.

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