Eleven of the 12 co-authors who contributed to the book were present at the launch. Back from left, Jackson Cook, Natanya, Janet Tiitnen, Sarah Holden, Jack Bramford, Anand Viraj, and MSPN chair Nikki Simos. Front, from left, Sharlene Johannessen, Karin, Vasalia Govender, Roslyn Stewart, and John Selimis. ​

MITCHELL Suicide Prevention Network, MSPN, earlier this month launched a book and paid tribute to the late Roger Fletcher, a network member who inspired the project and made a difference to the lives of many community members.

‘Helping Me to Help You: Discoveries of Joy, Peace and Hope’ features contributions from 12 authors, with each chapter detailing its author’s battles with mental health, exploring a range of life experiences such as racism, family violence, bullying, sexual abuse and isolation.

A message of hope is intended to be spread through each author’s chapter, talking about how they overcame their difficulties through personal stories, creative writing and poetic interludes.

MSPN chair Nikki Simos said the idea for the book came from a conversation with Mr Fletcher and paid tribute to him at the July 9 launch at Kilmore Trackside.

Ms Simos said the process of writing the book brought the authors together through sharing experiences and talking about their lives.

“We’re all on the same mission, the same purpose, and that is to reduce the stigma around suicide and get people talking about it so that it normalises the conversation,” she said.

“We went through the journey step by step. Each time we saw each other there were tears and vulnerabilities shared. At the same time there was the next step of hope.”

Contributors were unable to meet in person during the COVID-19 pandemic, however the group stayed committed through regular virtual meetings and eventually in person.

People can purchase the book directly from the MSPN or at Kilmore Bookstore for $20.

The group is planning a second launch event for those who missed out on the July 9 event, however a date is yet to be confirmed.

People can submit an expression of interest for the second launch or arrange to purchase a copy of the book by emailing mitchellspn@gmail.com or calling Ms Simos on 0438 587 425.

* Need to talk? Call Lifeline 13 11 14 or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.

Leave a Reply