Cherbourg asks R U OK?

Deputy Mayor Carla Fisher took part in the walk. Pictures: Contributed

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised this story contains the images of people who have passed away.

The Cherbourg community turned out in force to an R U OK? walk and talk on Thursday, 28 March, taking to the streets to remember those lost to suicide and mental health issues.

Members of the community met at the town’s hall to hear from a number of service providers and fellow Cherbourg locals on the importance of suicide prevention, with even a single question often being enough to save a life.

Bruce Simpson, the newly-elected mayor of the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council, gave a speech on the 2024 R U OK? Day theme ’A conversation can change a life’.

“As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we always have sorry business,“ Mr Simpson said.

“We all are connected to someone we’ve lost from suicide, from the pressures of being alone…

“I think that’s a thing we do really well: we yarn all the time about how we feel, but sometimes we need to make it intentional,“ Cherbourg’s mayor said, vowing that his new council will do just that and initiate frequent talks among community members and local service providers.

“The message to our community is that you’re not alone,“ Mr Simpson said.

“There are services here, there is support here. Our cultural programs, our justice reinvestment programs, health, education, men’s groups, women’s groups – we’ve got it all here.

“Start connecting with each other, start having those conversations to change our community.“

Following Mr Simpson’s speech, service providers such as Cherbourg’s suicide prevention organisation STaY – Sit, Talk and Yarn took up the microphone to speak on the topic of the R U OK? initiative.

The assembled group of community members and mental health specialists then went on their walk through Cherbourg, displaying pictures of family members who have passed away.

If this story has impacted you or someone you know, contact Lifeline by calling 13 11 14, texting 0477 131 114, or visiting (all services are available 24/7).