May 2 2023

This is no ordinary night out. Instead, this ball will start important discussions for at-risk Canberrans

Held annually, The Suicide Awareness Ball raises awareness and funds to support OzHelp’s mission to prevent suicide in the workplace and beyond.

The evening promises to be a wonderful celebration, with live entertainment, a three-course dinner, and a silent auction featuring exclusive items generously donated by local businesses—but if you want tickets, you better hurry because they’re selling fast.

It’s welcome news when you hear of the urgent message behind the ball.

Founded in 2019 by two passionate nurses working in the Canberra Hospital Emergency Department, Britt Shephard and Shannon Narracott, the OzHelp Foundation (OzHelp) is proud to continue the legacy that Britt and Shannon created as they hand the reigns over to OzHelp as the new hosts of the ball.

OzHelp was established in 2001 after David O’Bryan, a young building apprentice from Canberra, took his own life. That same year, three others connected to the ACT building and construction industry died by suicide within a three-month period.

With over 20 years’ experience, OzHelp is now a national leader in providing health and wellbeing support to workplaces and individuals in at-risk industries such as building and construction, and transport and logistics.

This year’s theme is ‘Hope’, reflecting the Foundation’s commitment to providing support and resources to those who are struggling. In 2021, 3,144 Australians died by suicide. On average that is nine Australians every day, 75% of which were men.

OzHelp Board Member and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Hamish Thomson says events like these create a space for the community to come together to understand more about suicide, especially about the role each part of our society can play in its prevention.

“As a nation, we are undeniably facing increased challenges, demands and stressors relating to daily life,” he says. “But there is hope. Encouragingly, we are seeing many examples of people and organisations making a significant difference within this area—proactive, preventative and evidence-based programmes and services that are improving the mental health and wellbeing of those around us. This has been both humbling and inspirational to witness and it provides a real sense of optimism for the future.”

“Through our commitment to those who are struggling, those who have lost their lives, and those who work tirelessly to support people facing mental health challenges, this event will help generate many important conversations and further encourage the breakdown of stigma surrounding suicide and mental health.”

Hosted at the Great Hall, Parliament House on Saturday 3 June from 6pm, with popular media personality and carpenter by trade Tom Williams as the host for the evening, all proceeds from the Suicide Awareness Ball will go towards OzHelp’s suicide prevention programs, on the ground suicide prevention and mental health training and support to apprentices and workers across blue-collar industries with high rates of suicide.

The additional capacity will allow OzHelp’s skilled team to reach people from at-risk industries before the point of crisis, getting more boots on the ground where they’re needed the most to support individuals in making improvements to their mental, physical, and social wellbeing.

OzHelp is pleased to announce that tickets are on sale and selling fast! Due to the limited nature no additional tickets will be released, so If this event sounds like something you want to be Involved In, do not hesitate and purchase tickets now here.

As the Suicide Awareness Ball draws closer, OzHelp is calling on local businesses for their support and generosity to assist with their fundraising goal through sponsorship, donations, or raffle prizes.

If you or someone you know needs crisis 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 and their families can call Health in Trades 24/7 on 1300 694 357 and transport and logistics workers and their families can call Health in Gear 24/7 on 1800 464 327, operated by the OzHelp Foundation.

This article originally appeared on HerCanberra.