Hobart’s ‘life saver’

A HOBART woman who has devoted more than 25 years to preventing suicide in Tasmania and around the world has been recognised with a LiFE Award at the 2014 National Suicide Prevention Conference.
Suicide Prevention Australia chief executive officer Sue Murray said award winner Mary Parsissons had dedicated her life to the health and wellbeing of others.
“During a 48-year career in midwifery and child health, Mary nursed women through postnatal depression and other issues associated with having children,” she said.
“Working in a low socio-economic area with one of the highest rates of cot death in Australia, Mary felt she needed more counselling skills, and 27 years ago, trained as a Lifeline counsellor.”
Since first volunteering as a telephone crisis supporter, Ms Parsissons joined the Board of Lifeline Hobart, serving as president as well as national board member.
She was Australia’s representative for Lifeline International for nine years, providing training and advice to help people from other countries establish their own telephone counselling services.
Ms Parsissons is also coordinating a steering group of the World Alliance of Crisis Helplines, which is currently completing a booklet of setting up a crisis line for the World Health Organisation’s “Preventing Suicide” series.
Ms Parsissons said she was honoured to receive a LiFE Award that “represents all the individual people who give their time in many ways to prevent suicide”.
“To be given an honour like this says that we all have a role in suicide prevention,” she said.
“Around the world there are people who will never be recognised for the work they do as they fundraise, attend training sessions and give their time on phones or in person to raise the awareness of suicide, to share the skills they have learnt in suicide intervention training.”
Lifeline Tasmania general manager Christine Kettleton said Mary Parsissons was an inspiration to all who have had the privilege of working with or knowing her.
“Her wisdom and knowledge have been invaluable to many and her compassion is evident in her commitment to preventing suicide in the state of Tasmania and on an international level,” she said.

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