Foundation Guide

A Tour of Our Global Community of Giving

Foundation Guide

A Tour of Our Global Community of Giving

HopeWalk – the movement for suicide awareness and prevention

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HopeWalk is a suicide awareness and prevention movement. It was founded by Joseph and Lydia Fa’afiu in 2015, after the suicide of a loved one, when they realized just how little was available by way of support and resources for those whose lives have been impacted by losing someone to suicide.

Feeling compelled to reach out to others who had experienced similar loss, Joseph and Lydia organized a 7km Walk for Hope as a social media event. They hoped to connect and unite a small number of people, but an astonishing 3,000 walkers attended the first event in South Auckland, on February 27, 2016. This highlighted a strong community need and signaled the official birth of HopeWalk as a community-led movement for suicide awareness, support and prevention. Joseph and Lydia believe that the most effective prevention can be achieved by empowering those who have felt the loss but can bring about change in their own communities.

In 2016 Joseph also launched and organized the Lights for Lives suicide awareness event. More than 1500 people participated in a night-climb of 35 mountains around New Zealand and Australia to shine lights for loved ones lost to suicide and for those struggling with mental illness.

Mission

HopeWalk’s mission is to connect and unite those who have experienced or are currently experiencing the grief of a suicide loss. The movement’s call to action, Stronger Together, is not only the Fa’afiu’s guiding principle as a couple, but it is the foundation of HopeWalk culture. It aims to break the stigma, shame and silence around suicide, creating a safe space of connection, information and support.

 

What They Do

Since that first simple event in 2016, HopeWalk has grown organically to a strong movement that now spans the length and breadth of New Zealand and is expanding internationally. In addition to the organization and promotion of awareness walks, it has partnered with existing organizations, community groups and agencies to create a network of providers that promote suicide awareness with three main areas of focus: prevention, intervention and postvention.

Prevention consists of support and resources for people struggling with mental health and depression, alongside activities to promote societal awareness and change. Intervention takes the form of immediate help for those having suicidal thoughts and support for the people around them. Postvention provides bereavement support and resources for the families and communities impacted by the suicide of a loved one.

How To Get Involved

HopeWalk encourages those affected by suicide to organize walks, or to participate in the community-led movement, where they can find support, resources and people who have similar stories and experiences.

Anyone can organize a HopeWalk for their community, city or region. They are family-friendly awareness walks of unity and not fundraising events, so participation is free. HopeWalk works with local councils, police and traffic management to provide safe routes of 3-7 km that are suitable for all fitness levels and provides resources and support to those who wish to organize a walk, including media promotion and logos for T-shirts.

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