Community-led Batemans Bay mural project launched in Youth Week

20 April 2024

A mural project to communicate to local youth that they are valued and to revitalise the Hanging Rock Sports Complex in Batemans Bay  officially opened today with a community event, as part of Youth Week.

With suicide being the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 24 years, the Hanging Rock mural project is a community-led initiative of the Bega Valley Eurobodalla Suicide Prevention Collaborative in collaboration with Batemans Bay local, Deanne Griffin.

The Bega Valley Eurobodalla Suicide Prevention Collaborative (the Collaborative) aims to lower suicide rates within the region and consists of more than 25 individuals, including representatives from 18 local organisations and entities including government, non-government, health, education, social services and community bodies.

As part of the mural installation, local young people participated in workshops in March led by Braidwood artist Bohie, along with Sion Gruffydd of Kraken Kreative.

“We are overwhelmed by the community support for this project. These murals have brought so many different people together in a positive way," said Deanne Griffin.

Deanne's son Sean was an active sportsman and trade apprentice who died by suicide in 2019.

"We’re reminding people to reach out or talk with somebody when they’re not okay and how important it is to really listen to each other. Hanging Rock sports complex, at Batemans Bay is a place where many young people gather today, it is also a place where Sean used to play cricket with his dad.

“We chose mural artworks that recognise loss, and life’s struggles while celebrating diversity, teamwork, togetherness and real-world support from family, community, school and the sporting world. The artworks emphasise each person’s value and remind us that even if you have a bad day, tomorrow is a new day, and things will improve. We are all somebody's somebody.

“I’m hopeful this project will also remind people of the families left behind as their loss is ongoing. Our communities are so interconnected, many people know of someone who has died by suicide,” added Deanne.

According to Jo Riley, Suicide Prevention Program Manager at COORDINARE - South Eastern NSW Primary Health Network, the murals provide a visual reminder to the young people of the area that they matter, their mental health matters and that their community wants them to be safe.

“We lose around 15 people every year to suicide on the South Coast. Every life lost is one too many and each suicide affects a large number of people, such as the person’s family, friends, children, partners and work colleagues," said Jo.

“Suicidal behaviour is extremely complex, with many risk factors across an individual’s lifespan interacting together; and the important issues for one person will be different from those for someone else. But someone who is considering taking their life is typically overwhelmed by suffering, despair or loss and feeling disconnected and hopeless."

“We need people and places in the community that provide compassion, connection, inclusion, and safety to those who feel hopeless. In these spaces, a spark of hope can be shared and nurtured. Support can be provided to help someone take steps towards better days,” added Jo.

Sarah Smith, Manager headspace Batemans Bay said, “Being able to talk to an independent person who respects confidentiality is important, we have received positive feedback that headspace is seen as a safe space. Young people who are feeling down, feeling stressed or anxious or just not themselves can call headspace Batemans Bay on 1800 718 383, check out our website, or drop in to discuss.”

Please note Bega Valley Eurobodalla Suicide Prevention Collaborative is NOT a crisis response service. If you, or someone you are with, is in immediate danger call 000.

Local supports

If you are feeling distressed and in need of immediate assistance, please contact Lifeline (24/7, phone 13 11 14) or 13YARN (24/7, phone 13 92 76). Support for those impacted by suicide loss is available from StandBy Support After Suicide (phone 1300 727 247) and Thirrili Indigenous Postvention Support (24/7, phone 1800 805 801).

For further information about supports in the area:




Pictured: Members of the Bega Valley Eurobodalla Suicide Prevention Collaborative with Michael Holland MP, Glenn Cotter (GPH & RUOK), Michael Holland MP, Karen Wright (StandBy), Clr Matthew Hatcher (Mayor of Eurobodalla), Deanne Griffin, Helen Best (SPAN), Renee Green (Lifeline), Bronwyn Hendry (Directors Health), Julie Irwin (SNSWLHD), Peta McAlister (Office for Regional Youth), Nerida Lawrentin (COORDINARE). 

Community, Media release, Mental health, Southern NSW, Suicide prevention