Wagga Safe Haven is inviting locals and service providers to wear their most eye-catching socks to an event this weekend and crochet a novelty sock, to raise awareness about suicide.
Safe Haven is a place of refuge for anyone experiencing distress and offers an alternative to going to a busy, stressful emergency department.
Wagga Safe Haven, Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network and Wellways are coming together to raise awareness on World Suicide Prevention Day on Sunday (10 September) through the Sock it to Suicide campaign.
Driven by Wellways, Sock it to Suicide encourages people to wear their most attention-grabbing socks and participate in the novelty sock crochet event at Wagga Safe Haven.
“Guests and services can come in and crochet part of the sock, and we will hang it on the wall here [in Wagga] and Griffith,” said Wagga and Griffith Safe Haven senior support worker Jesse Warran-Rigby.
Jesse said people of all backgrounds accessed the Wagga centre to get help.
“We’ve been pretty lucky we haven’t had one group more than another … it shows the site is safe for a wide demographic of people,” he said.
The senior support worker said that with the rising cost of living and housing crisis taking a toll on mental health, the demand for services had increased.
“There’s a lot of anxiety and fear, which impacts people’s physical, emotional and mental wellbeing,” he said.
“People just need somewhere safe where they can talk about their concerns, and unfortunately, we do see with the [increase in] cost of living, people are facing eviction and job losses … that can lead to intrusive thoughts around suicide and self-harm.
“We encourage people to use and utilise this service because there is help out there, and the hardest step is the first step.”
With limited mental health services in the regions and the stigma around mental health in regional areas, Jesse said it was essential to have a place where people could feel safe and accepted.
The safe haven is located at 7 Yathong Street, Wagga.
If this story has raised any issues for you, please get in touch with Lifeline on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, the Defence all-hours Support Line on 1800 628 036, Open Arms on 1800 011 046 or Soldier On on 1300 620 380.