Vigil for mental health

Byron Bay will host a candlelight vigil to bring attention to the mental health crisis in Australia next Tuesday (August 10).

The Byron Bay event will be part of an Australia-wide GetUp vigil to raise awareness of the country’s under-funded mental healthcare system.

Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry will host the Sydney vigil, while Byron Bay’s vigil will be led by mental health advocate and 2010 Byron Shire Citizen of the Year Nicqui Yadzi.

“This vigil is more than just about those lives that have already been lost, it’s also about the lives that will be lost in the future if we don’t stand up and influence the government to recognise just how big the problems in Australia are,” Ms Yadzi said.

“In the Byron region we lose too many young lives to suicide.

“We have high levels of problems with psychosis and substance-use disorders and we are losing the facilities, not gaining them.

“Mental health is going to be the biggest problem in our country’s future and already is the largest burden today.”

The Byron Bay vigil will be held at Main Beach from 5pm.

At 5.20pm, Zenith Virago will read a prayer for those people who have been lost through mental health issues.

Steven Nugent and other local musicians will play a lament from 5.30pm and at 6pm, those people who have lost a loved one through mental illness will be asked to walk to the water’s edge through a candlelit corridor and place a flower in the ocean.

From 6pm to 7.30pm there will be a picnic in the park.

People attending are asked to bring a flower, a jar, tealight candles and a picnic.

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