It’s hard to see how wearing a purple shirt or wig could make a difference in a young person’s life.
But that’s exactly what the community is being asked to do on Friday, August 26 for the sixth annual Wear it Purple day.
The day is all about celebrating sexual and gender diversity and raising awareness of youth suicide, and headspace Dubbo and the local police are once again joining forces for the cause.
“Wear it Purple’s key message is you have a right to be proud of who you are,” NSW Police western region sponsor for sexual and gender diversity Inspector Gemini Bakos said.
“It’s a day that represents the acceptance of diversity.”
To mark the occasion the police and headspace Dubbo are inviting community members to attend a free sausage sizzle between 11.30am and 1.30pm on Friday at the Church Street Rotunda.
They will also be giving out merchandise and encouraging conversations about diversity and mental illness.
headspace Dubbo youth access and awareness worker Nicholas Steepe urged the community to wear purple on Friday, to show their support for members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Asexual (LGBTIQA) community.
“It’s so important because those that identify on the rainbow spectrum have high rates of mental health issues due to a lack of social acceptance,” he said.
“Due to the high rates of mental health issues for rainbow young people we [headspace] do serve to support them...and we promote the message that this is a place that they can come in and be accepted regardless of who they are.”
Inspector Bakos said concerns over youth suicide rates prompted NSW Police to get involved with Wear it Purple day five years ago.
“I don’t think everyday, non-law enforcement people are aware [of the extent of the issue],” Inspector Bakos said.
“We’re often the first people that are called when a young person attempts self-harm or takes their life.
“I think one suicide is a huge issue and if we can prevent one then we’re doing well. It’s huge by virtue of just one death.”
Inspector Bakos said police officers across the western region will also be undertaking community engagement activities on Wear it Purple day, to spread the day’s key message in rural and remote communities.
“You have the right to be proud of who you, no matter who you are, what you are,” Inspector Bakos said.
“We want you to know that you’re accepted and that we’re here if you need our help.”
If you are having a tough time, visit the headspace Dubbo centre on Church Street, contact 5852 1900, or visit www.facebook.com/headspacedubbo/