Talking can be healing in a crisis

Suicide prevention campaign launch showcases local artists.

Art can be a powerful way to share stories, so the work of local artists features prominently in a new suicide prevention campaign aimed at LGBTIQ+ communities in Brisbane North.

Launched on 6 February 2020 in Newstead, Talking Heals is a Queensland AIDS Council (QuAC) campaign funded through the National Suicide Prevention Trial (NSPT).

Talking Heals campaign messaging acknowledges that sharing stories of suicide can be hard and encourages LGBTIQ+, ‘Sistergirl’ and ‘Brotherboy’ (SGBB) people at risk of suicide to connect with specialist services.

The campaign has a community education focus, but will also support capacity building in the suicide prevention sector.

Suicide prevention project officer Ged Farmer has worked closely with QuAC and their priority communities to support Brisbane North PHN’s local implementation of the NSPT.

He spoke at the launch about Talking Heals and Yarns Heal, a similar campaign specifically designed by and for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ+ SGBB communities, and how they have reset the language we use to talk about suicide.

“For many, many years, speaking about suicide was just something people didn’t want to do and didn’t do,” Ged said.

“If someone was going through a tough time and they mentioned suicide, the conversation was often shut down,” he said.

“This meant that people needing or wanting to talk about what they were going through were often unable to, and this in turn presents further barriers to accessing support.

“The Talking Heals campaign is allowing us pathways to share our lived experiences of suicide and an opportunity to share our own personal stories of suicide and to have wider discussions around suicide,” he explained.

Ged thanked the many project partner organisations and individuals, reserving special mention for the artists involved in both campaigns.

The artists’ contributions, Ged said, “allow us a visual of the narrative, they allow us to reflect and they allow us to talk in ways about suicide that we’ve never done before”.

“Every time I look at each of these pieces of art I see a new part of the story, I see something that I haven’t seen before. They generate emotion, they generate discussion and they generate hope and love,” he said.

For more information, go to www.talkingheals.org.au or www.yarnsheal.com.au.

Pictured above: PHN staff joined QuAC staff, as well as campaign artists and supporters at the Talking Heals launch in February.