June 26 2023

Collective Hope Shines as Community Unites for Suicide Prevention

The OzHelp Foundation (OzHelp) and Master Builders ACT proudly organised the 2023 Suicide Awareness Ball, where more than 300 individuals united with a common goal. Together, they sought to raise awareness about suicide prevention and foster a sense of hope within our community. This event served as a powerful reminder of our collective strength and the potential to create a brighter future together.

On average about 9 Australians die by suicide every day, 75% of which are men; with those in construction and transport industries being particularly affected. In the 2021-2022 year, over 240,000 individuals connected with OzHelp’s services, information, and resources.

OzHelp Chief Executive Officer Hamish Thomson said that while the numbers are stark, it is not a true reflection of the impact mental health challenges cause.

“Mental health and suicide has always been a tough subject to discuss; numbers and data get thrown around constantly but they do not do justice to the impact on those who are struggling, those who have lost their lives, and those who work tirelessly to support people facing mental health challenges,”

”Stories like that of David and Loraine O’Bryan show the purpose and passion of organisations like OzHelp, and other organisations and individuals doing tremendous things in the suicide prevention space. It shows the need for all industries to work together to make a difference and influence positive change.”

The event was a reinforcement of OzHelp’s commitment to its ‘boots on-the-ground’ approach, delivering early intervention, support, and education to Australia’s most at-risk workers. All funds raised on the evening will empower OzHelp to assist the community.

“OzHelp is also thrilled to announce that through the generous support of the industry and community, gross funds received were in excess of $150,000,”

“These funds will help OzHelp to expand our reach throughout the remainder of 2023 and beyond. Through increasing our capacity, our team will be able to reach more people before the point of crisis and have increased presence on the ground where they’re needed the most.” Said Hamish.

Naming Rights Partner, Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins said, “Events like the Suicide Awareness Ball help raise crucial funds for OzHelp so that the foundation can continue to provide valuable support to workers in at-risk industries. The MBA looks forward to helping OzHelp grow the Ball into the largest mental health fundraising event in Australia.”

The evening was an incredible success, with an overwhelming sense of community and support within the room, the Acknowledgement of Country was eloquently presented by the Minister for Mental Health Emma Davidson. Director of Gold Leaf Tree Services and OzHelp Reference Group Member James Macpherson presented the OzHelp Lived Experience Statement for the first time. Helping Hands Group and Jonathon Davis MLA facilitated the live auction, and the wonderful sounds of Smooth Ops kept the audience entertained.

OzHelp would like to thank the 2023 Suicide Awareness Ball Event Sponsors for their generous and continued support: Naming Rights Partner Master Builders ACT, Platinum Sponsor allinsure, Gold Sponsors Fredon and Gold Leaf Tree Services, Silver Sponsors HeyDay Group and REP Building, Bronze Sponsors Delnas Metal Roofing and O’Neill & Brown Group (Fire, Plumbing, Electrical), Photobooth Sponsor I Got You, Media Partner RiotACT and AV Partner Elite Event Technology.

We would also like to acknowledge the generous support from the local Canberra community for contributions to the raffle and auction.

Images from the evening can be found here.

If you or someone you know needs support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, available 24/7.

Building and construction workers can call Health in Trades on 1300 694 357 and transport and logistics workers can call Health in Gear on 1800 464 327, operated by The OzHelp Foundation.