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Starting A Life-Saving Conversation

starting a life-saving conversation

The aim of an Australian events company called The Official Top Ten Night is to break down those barriers and facilitate conversations around topics that are previously swept under the carpet.

By hosting events where invitees share top-10 lists of everything from their favourite songs, books, movies, and even games, organisers have found that the walls start to come down.

It’s all about building a personal connection and opening discussions, all in support of charity partner Suicide Prevention Australia.

You can organise your own event – the concept started between two mates – or join in one of the many national ones, details for which you can also find at the bottom of the story.

Stacks of Aussie and other celebrities have lent their support as ambassadors, including Stephen Fry (see video below), Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Kris Smith, and former NRL star Joe Williams, pictured above.

In 2011, Joe wrote a farewell letter to his children and attempted to end his life.

Five years down the line and Joe spends his time working to inspire youth and individuals through motivational speaking workshops titled The Enemy Within.

Joe has worked with disengaged youth in high schools and primary schools, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres, jails and has mentored both youth and adults.

He says The Official Top Ten Night events are a Godsend for raising awareness, funds and discussions around suicide. The most recent event he attended underscored why he’s so thrilled to be part of the cause.

“It was the most heart-warming event I have ever been a part of,” says Joe.

“Mate it was beautiful. I have done heaps in the past 10 years in different things with playing footy and so forth but this just touched me.

“When people are in the room and shedding tears and telling personal stories you can’t help but be connected to that. There is a real community.”

You can read more about Joe’s inspiring story here.

The official Top Ten Events for 2016 are:

  1. Get Reel: Top Ten Filmmakers Festival 2016

An international filmmaking competition to find the top ten filmmakers in Australia and New Zealand, as judged by a celebrity panel.

The goal is to create an original short film, shot entirely on a smart device, on this year’s theme of “Being Seen”. All films must be no longer than 10 minutes in length, with all editing to be done on the smartphone.

When: Competition runs from March 1 to May 8, 2016, with prizes for the top 100, top 10 and overall winner.

Find out more here.


  1. Listen Up Australia 2016

Is a nationwide songwriter’s festival with the aim to uncover the nation’s greatest songwriter, whilst inspiring people to start a conversation about mental health and suicide.

Entrants must submit an original song, around this year’s theme of “Being Heard”. All songs must be between 3-5 minutes long, and of release quality (where possible).

When: Competition runs from March 9 to May 24, 2016, with prizes for the top 100, top 10 and overall winner.

Find out more here.


  1. Top Ten Books Night 2016

Guests select and read excerpts from their Top Ten Books of all time, while engaging in open conversations about suicide and its prevention. Authors will be present, taking turns to share readings from their lists, and join in the conversations.

Special guests on the night include Adam Schwartz, Chris Brookmyre, Kevin Hines, Rebecca Poulson and Samantha Little, with more names to come.

When And Where: 6:30pm Friday May 20, 2016 at Berkelouw Books, Paddington.

Book your ticket now.

Dymocks Top 101 Books 2016

  1. Top Ten Games Night

In conjunction with International TableTop Day, an epic showdown of the Top Ten Board Games of all time with favourites such as Monopoly, Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit.

The teams are Top Ten HQ, The Nerd Cave, The Games Cube and Kitty Haven, but the general public can register to play or watch online on YouTube Gaming and Google+ Hangouts on Air!

When: 6pm Saturday April 30, 2016.

Book your ticket now.


5 Shocking Statistics About Suicide In Australia

  1. In 2014, there were 2,160 males and 704 females that died by suicide, a total of 2864 deaths, which equates to an average of 7.8 deaths by suicide in Australia each day.
  2. In 2014, approximately 75% of people who died by suicide were males and 25% were females.
  3. In 2011, Suicide accounted for 27.8% of all deaths amongst young men aged 15 to 24.
  4. Suicide rates are substantially higher in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In 2014, data showed that suicide was the fifth leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and accounted for 5.2% of all Indigenous deaths compared to 1.8% for non-Indigenous people.
  5. With the exception of those aged over 85, the highest rates of suicide were observed among men in their middle years (i.e. 40-54).

Statistics thanks to Lifeline and MindFrame.

If you, or anyone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit

Written by Victoria Webster

Victoria Webster is The Carousel's resident health expert. She has been surrounded by health and fitness her entire life. Her mother, a nutritionist, personal trainer and Pilates teacher instilled in Victoria a passion for all things wellbeing related.

Growing up a ballet dancer and singer having performed in the States, her passion for performance and movement transferred to yoga, running and the gym whilst remaining focused on her academics and career. She is an avid traveller and has lived all over the world enabling her to speak French, Italian and Spanish.

She began her journalism career by studying Media and Communications at The University of Sydney. She has written for The Medical Observer and Australian Doctor.


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