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Ken Loftus: The Sunlight Centre: Westfield Local Heroes 2018

Ken reaches out to teens and adults with depression

It doesn’t matter how busy you are, if you can do something that might save lives, you should give it your all.

That’s the attitude of Ken Loftus, who in 2017 founded The Sunlight Centre, a charity offering free crisis counselling to teenagers and adults at risk of suicide in Brisbane’s Cannon Hill.

Ken had no government funding and a child on the way and was already working two jobs.

But he pushed ahead out of a desire to make it easier for people to access in-person counselling when they need it most.

“After 17 years of working in mental health, I learned that what people really want is somewhere safe to talk, somewhere they can feel listened to and that is what The Sunlight Centre is there to provide,” he says.

Those who need The Sunlight Centre can book themselves a free appointment without a referral from a GP, reducing wait times and costs. Others can attend one of the centre’s “Healthy Mind” workshops, where Ken teaches mindfulness and coping mechanisms for anxiety.

It’s all about trying to reduce self-harm and suicide, which is the largest cause of preventable death among teenagers in Australia.

“We are trying to provide people with a warm environment where they can get help to get them through a crisis," he says.

Ken says he is proud to have been recognised by his community and voted a Westfield Local Hero after just a year.

The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant has already helped support the Therapist Program for both adults and youth in the Sunlight Centre. The funding allows a therapist to directly support close to 15 suicidal clients in our community. Saving those lives in our community stops unmeasurable ripples that would drastically disrupt the wellbeing and harmony of the community.

If you or anyone you know would like more information on what support is available:
The Sunlight Centre: 1300 259 724
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.

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