The project aims to not only create a reflective public space overlooking running water, but also provide therapeutic workshops to asemble the mosaic art piece by piece.
The workshops are a collaboration between Seeds of Hope Suicide Prevention Network, Barossa Council, mosaic artist Kristin Wohlers and major sponsor Black Dog Ride Australia.
Project leader Susan Raven, from Seeds of Hope Suicide Prevention Network, said the first workshops were held last week and will continue to run for approximately 12 weeks or until the mosaic elements have finished.
Raven said they had a great community response with enthusiastic participants.
“Everyone is just naturally working together on the project and helping each other, which is great,” Raven said.
The first workshops finalised the designs of the sofas, with a nature theme being prominent in all three locations.
“Each community has chosen a nature theme with native trees and animals,” Raven said.
The Seeds of Hope Suicide Prevention Network sunflower motif will also be included on the back of every seat.
Kristin Wohlers, the South Australian representative for the Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand, is leading the mosaic workshops.
Wohlers said that the project is an opportunity for people to learn a new skill and forget about their day-to-day troubles for a while.
“When you work with the community on these projects, people can forget anything else they’re thinking about, which may be a loss or their hectic life,” Wohlers said.
“So, you just concentrate [on the process] because you can’t do anything else. That’s a really cool thing, and the other thing is that you build up a community.”
Raven said each bench will feature the words “reflect” and “connect” on the back, alongside a QR code with a link to suicide prevention and help services.
“That’s an invitation to come and sit down; to reflect on how you’re feeling; and to connect to yourself, connect to nature and connect with others,” Raven said.
“The key to suicide prevention is to reduce the stigma of talking about suicide, and that’s where the role of the reflection sofa will help because stigma is a barrier to people reaching out for help.”
Barossa Valley Mayor Bim Lange said the benches would continue the community conversation about suicide prevention.
“These benches will be a visible reminder that support is available locally for people and encourage them to reach out for help,” Lange said.
“We’re especially grateful to our community representatives for driving this initiative and keeping suicide prevention at the forefront of community dialogue.”
The Reflection Sofas are scheduled to be installed in November to coincide with the International Day of Suicide Loss.
To get help 24/7, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, phone 000 for emergency services.Jump to next article