Escalating Coronavirus threat causes postponement of Bendigo Suicide Prevention and Awareness Walk

Hi everyone,

It's with sadness but a true sense of responsibility to all that we announce the Suicide Prevention And Awareness Walk planned for March 22 must be postponed due to the rapidly escalating Coronavirus (COVID-19) threat.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly but given this situation is changing by the hour the SPAN committee had to make a decision in the interests of you and our volunteers.

Here's some key points we considered:

• At this time the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services guidelines don’t preclude outdoor gatherings such as the SPAN Walk, however people who are unwell should not attend such events and universal hygiene precautions need to be practised in order to minimise the spread of the virus.

• The SPAN Walk is an outdoor event and therefore the risk of close contact to infected persons is relatively low, however, no situations are entirely risk free – the nature of the SPAN event is that it is an emotional environment and therefore close contact with people hugging, kissing or shaking hands is a reality.

• A key consideration is the ‘duty of care’ that SPAN has to its members, volunteers, guest speakers, students and participants – we haven’t had time to consult with everyone however enough questions have already been raised about how some may feel given the daily developments and perceived risk of this event.

• The Coranavirus story in the media is escalating by the hour and this is already resulting in either cancellations or limitations on various gatherings (both indoor and outdoor) which adds to the uncertainty in the community.

• The cycle group who are intending to participate in this year’s event have also raised the question about whether the event should proceed.

• The reality is that the public’s perception of these events is already impacted for various reasons and therefore it is highly likely that numbers will be down this year.

Given these factors and our duty of care to all we have decided to postpone not cancel the walk and will keep everyone informed about any new date once we all get over this health crisis wreaking havoc around the world.

We thank you for your ongoing support and apologise for any inconvenience this has caused.

Thank you all.

Remember, as our motto says ... #toughtimespass

www.spancv.org.au