Highlights from Al’s Walk for Life

18 October – 16 November

Al’s Walk for Life Facebook

Envoy Alan Staines OAM OF, 86 years young, National Secretary of Postvention Australia, committed to walking over 320km from Canberra to Sydney over 28 days to raise community awareness throughout Australia of the urgent need to provide support for those impacted by suicide. Many are falling between the cracks are receiving no help at all.  He visited 14 towns, providing information on suicide bereavement and how to support bereaved friends, as well as the local/national support services available.

Support Alan and the Walk for Life by giving generously this Christmas. Please donate here: postventionaustralia.org/walkforlifedonation

The Reason

The primary reason is to raise greater awareness and education to communities throughout Australia of the need to provide support to the bereaved by suicide.

Over 3000 people take their lives each year in Australia, equating more than 8 suicides a day. The consequences of suicide are immense – to lose someone to suicide commonly results in intense emotional trauma, shock, grief, guilt, physical and emotional ill health and adverse social and economic circumstances.  The bereaved by suicide are up to 8 times the risk of suicide than the general population.

Information and support have been demonstrated to be important in helping the bereaved survive through the pain of grief (postvention). Effective postvention is prevention.

Suicide touches everyone, all ages and incomes, all racial, ethnic and religious groups in all parts of our country. Suicide creates a huge ripple effect in the community – affecting family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, clubs, schools, and others.

Highlights of the Walk


Alan Staines spent time discussing Postvention with a senior government Minister, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Minister for Indigenous Health and Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care (pictured), as well as the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, the Hon Nigel Scullion MP and the Member for Parramatta Julie Owens MP, at Parliament House in preparation for his launch.

History was made at the Launch with the term Postvention being articulated by the Federal Health Minister, Hon Greg Hunt MP, shadowed by Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP.

The two senior Ministers launched Alan on his Walk for Life on 18th November from Canberra with Minister Hunt, donating $100,000 to this Postvention journey for those bereaved by suicide and presenting Alan with a personal letter from Prime Minister Scott Morrison. There was a huge turnout from national media and Alan was delighted to play his trombone for the Minister and have his family and friends wave him off. This recognition of Postvention by the Federal Government has made history in the suicide bereavement sector and Alan will return to Parliament in the new year to discuss funding and strategies.

Support for Alan and his Postvention Walk for Life rolled in from across the nation, even here in the words from Prime Minister “All power to you Alan!”
Alan discusses postvention and mental health issues, especially within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with Professor Tom Calma AO at Parliament House.


Bill Shorten MP, while comparing walking shoes with Alan in Canberra, reckons running and walking is the best thing for mental health. The two shared a laugh together, with the Leader of the Opposition congratulating Alan on his Walk for Life initiative and inviting him to return for a meeting after the walk.

Sky News interviewed Alan on the issue of suicide bereavement and the Walk for Life (which can be viewed here). Vision also used in the Advertiser and The Mercury.

Jo Laverty ABC Drivetime radio host interviewed Alan about his Walk for Life. Family and team joined Alan while he talks to tens of thousands in the greater Canberra region about the importance of postvention.

The Journey – Canberra to Sydney

Alan connected with local folk in towns such as Goulburn, meeting with Malcolm from the Goulburn Suicide Prevention Network and offering suicide bereavement support group training.

Thank you to David Cole at the Goulburn Post for covering the important issue of suicide prevention.

Alan played some tunes on the trombone at the Moss Vale Community Forum. Thank you for those who joined Alan to awareness in the community for greater support for the bereaved by suicide.

A very successful meeting in Bowral! A big thank you to Oxley College for their generosity in taking us in for morning tea and letting us share our message of postvention. It was so lovely to meet Emma, the Community Relations Officer, all the students and staff members at Oxley College to start the conversation about mental health and suicide prevention and pass along a few resources. Alan also met with Oxley College Deputy Principal Mark Case who joined us for the Community Forum.

Alan also met with Ken from the Bowral Lions Club and Trevor from Rotary Club of Bowral-Mittagong. Thanks to them for raising awareness in their clubs and community about suicide bereavement.

Thank you to those who attended the really powerful Community Forum at Bargo. A special shout out to Craig Curtis, President of Lions Club of Tahmoor for the use of their hall for the Forum.
Alan reached Picton with a whopping 205km completed. Picton was very welcoming – thank you for those who showed up to the Forum on Tuesday!

Thank you for those who attended the Camden and Campbelltown Forums. Alan was very thankful to Lifeline Macarthur for their support throughout the region. Salvation Army Narellan Corps were very welcoming, having us over for a refreshing cuppa and some words of encouragement. Thank you to Joshua Bartlett at the Campbelltown-Macathur Advertiser for his article Elderly man treks through Macarthur to raise suicide prevention awareness.

In Auburn, Alan engaged with various members of the community.
A special shoutout to Blake at Headspace Parramatta for helping out at today’s Community Forum! It was great to develop these connections in the community and we look forward to further engagement in the future.

What an amazing Homecoming Welcome for Alan complete with a 50-member Concert Band and flowers from the NSW Premier, the Hon Gladys Berejiklian MP, and the NSW Minister for Mental Health, the Hon Tanya Davies MP.
A real team effort… the end of the Walk, but now the real beginning of postvention awareness in Australia.




Thank you Sydney RV Group

We want to express our deepest gratitude to Sydney RV Group for very kindly supplying Alan with a motor home for the duration of Al’s Walk for Life.

It has sheltered Alan during torrential rain, the relentless Aussie sun, and given Alan a place to rest his weary legs. Thank you, particularly Norman and Bronwyn, for your big-hearted gesture in supporting those impacted by suicide. Al’s Walk for Life would not have been possible without Sydney RV Group‘s generosity.


Alan and the team would like to thank various media all around Australia for shedding light on the often-neglected issue of suicide bereavement through covering Al’s Walk for Life.

Special thanks to Laura Jayes at Sky News – we couldn’t have done it without you. Check out the coverage by Sky News here.

The vision has been used in The Australian, NT News, and the Advertiser.

Many thanks to Ben Fordham and 2GB for their support to us during the entire Walk with daily updates and live crosses, spreading the message to so many and letting them know they are not alone. More here.

The extensive article in The Senior by Geraldine Cardozo – thank you for your support.


Messages of Support

“As much as anyone, Alan has brought the attention of Australians to the devastation that suicide brings to families, friends and the community. His commitment to suicide prevention is unmatched.”

– Prof. Robert Goldney, The University of Adelaide


“I’m a strong supporter of Alan Staines, his passion comes from a lifelong involvement, and his continuing concern for those affected by the loss of life from suicide.

Postvention is about relationships between people and their communities, it is -prevention after suicide – for those grieving after losing someone from suicide, it involves intense personal engagement with the people left behind and their communities. They need to be helped to understand they are not alone in their bewilderment and there will be support for them during their sadness. Postvention depends on people who are – selfless, other-person orientated and concerned for the well-being of others. They deserve our support. We need more of them”

– Emer. Prof. Ian Webster AO, Deputy Chair of Postvention Australia (Former Chair of the National Advisory Councils on suicide prevention)


“Suicide is the worst of all human tragedies. 
And not only this: the suicide of a person increases the risk of people who are close to them. It is estimated today that the number of people exposed to suicide may be even more than 135, with varying degrees of emotional severity. So far, governments have invested very sparingly on suicide prevention; but for the sake of the suicide survivors, neither the attention nor the money was dedicated. It is therefore extremely important to support the activities of Postvention Australia, which has been fighting for years to raise awareness on those tragically affected by suicide.”

– Emeritus Professor Diego de Leo AO, former Director of the Australian Institute Suicide Research and Prevention


“It is our hope that through this Walk of Life you will bring greater awareness for those who suffer in our communities, especially the health and wellbeing of each person bereaved by suicide. May the impact of what you do in these days be a growing awareness across Australia.”

– National Commander of the Salvation 
Army Australia, Commissioner Floyd Tidd

The Team
Lois Staines










Thank you to the lovely Lois Staines, who has been the devoted wife of Alan for 65 years and counting. Lois supported Alan on his Walk for Life, with 4:45am starts for hot breakfasts everyday, providing moral support and driving the escort vehicle. Alan couldn’t have done this Walk and ongoing work for Postvention Australia without the support of Lois.

Brad Farmer









Government Relations and Media

Awarded Honorary Life Membership by Suicide Prevention Australia for his lifetime contribution to the field, Brad is continuing to assist others in national projects like Al’s Walk for Life and Postvention Australia. An advocate since his school years, he has worked across the world to improve the lives of others, from the offices of Federal Parliament to the most impoverished regions imaginable. Like his old mate and mentor Alan Staines OAM, he’s dedicated his life to the service of humanity and is pleased to be leading all strategic government, community and media relations in this next important step toward improving the mental health and well being of Australians.

John Gohari

On Road Logistics, Communications Co-ordinator, Safety & Traffic, Field co-ordinations
Sydney-based father of two, John first met Alan while working as a volunteer Crisis Counsellor for Salvo Care Line and like all our team members behind the scenes is passionate about people, social justice and those bereaved by suicide. John is keen to get on the road to help raise community awareness and education to support Australians affected by suicide. He is also an avid bushwalker and enjoys a keen interest in Overseas Mission work. In his spare time, John enjoys spending time with family and friends. John is generously volunteering his time away from Sydney Water where he has worked in senior roles for over 40 years.

Carol Zhou-Zheng

Communications, Adminstrator, Social Media, All Rounder 
Carol Zhou-Zheng has been working for Alan at Postvention Australia for a number of years, which aligns with her passions in suicide prevention and bereavement. Carol graduated from a Bachelor of Engineering (Biomedical)/Bachelor of Arts from the University of Sydney earlier this year. She has been working tirelessly on the Walk for Life campaign with Alan in communications, administration, social media, and anything else that needs to be done around the place!

Support Alan and the Walk for Life by giving generously this Christmas. Please donate here: postventionaustralia.org/walkforlifedonation


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