A Hunter real estate agent is calling on fellow businesspeople to help her with a special project she has designed to help people that have lost a loved one to suicide as well as help save other people’s lives.
Kathie Bowtell from Walkom Real Estate is also a portrait artist. Kathie lost a grandfather and stepbrother to suicide.
She developed the stARTtalking project in 2013. She started to paint portraits of people who had suicided for their families to keep but to also give them the family an opportunity to remember and talk about their loved one with her. The portraits are then placed on exhibition to help generate community awareness of suicide and its prevention as well as raise vital funds for Lifeline Hunter and Central Coast’s suicide prevention services.
This year Kathie has joined with the portrait group of the Society of Artists Newcastle, which means that 15 families can be supported this year across Port Stephens, the Hunter Valley, Maitland and Coalfields, Newcastle and the Central Coast.
She is currently seeking families to be involved in the project and asking businesses to let employees who have lost someone to suicide know of the opportunity. Businesses are also encouraged to sponsor the exhibition of a portrait or to sponsor the entire exhibition, planned for mid 2016.
“The projects helps different people at different levels,” Kathie said. “Family members are given an important healing process, artists are given the chance to use their skills and passion to make a difference and everybody starts talking about suicide prevention.”
“The exhibition broadens the conversation about suicide and the ways we, as a community, can prevent future deaths.”
Walkom Real Estate Director Scott Walkom said he encouraged his staff to help others in the community and was proud of the work Kathie is doing to help families and save lives.
Around 2,500 Australians suicide every year. Lifeline Hunter and central Coast estimates it saves more than 5,000 lives annually through its crisis support and other suicide prevention services and training.
People who have lost a loved one to suicide and who wish to be involved, as well as people interested in sponsoring a portrait, should contact Kathie Bowtell on 0402 411 317 or email [email protected]
Image | Kathie Bowtell with some of the portraits she has painted for stARTtalking