You can leave your hat on

You can leave your hat on

28 November 2019

Innovative research projects aimed at preventing suicide in young people will be supported by money raised at this year’s Hats for Hope charity event.

Hats for Hope was co-founded by Arlene Bennett and Michelle Stevenson, who share a passion for ensuring that young people live long and healthy lives.

In its sixth year, the October event was held among a sell-out crowd in the iconic Mural Hall in Myer Melbourne. Ms Bennett said Hats for Hope featured a fashion parade of vintage Christian Dior hats, an auction, high tea and entertainment.

“Of course, all the hats, auction items and food are wonderful components of the day, but each year, a young person walks onto the stage and shares their lived experience of mental ill-health,” Ms Bennett said. “This is what makes the day such a poignant one.

Ms Stevenson said Hats for Hope had become an event where strangers could talk to each other about suicide, a topic that’s rarely talked about. “What I have come to realise is that without research we are just throwing money down the drain,” Ms Stevenson said.

Associate Professor Jo Robinson, who leads Orygen’s suicide prevention research team said given the rising rates of youth suicide in Australia, the support of Hats for Hope was more important than ever.

“The funds help to support an extremely dedicated and talented group of researchers who are committed to making a difference to the lives of young people,” Associate Professor Robinson said.

Orygen’s executive director Professor Patrick McGorry thanked Ms Bennett and Ms Stevenson for their tireless commitment to youth mental health. ”Hats for Hope is an important community fundraising event and a special part of the Orygen calendar,” Professor McGorry said.

“Arlene, Michelle and their team are passionate about improving the lives of young people and we appreciate their selfless dedication to raising funds for Orygen’s youth suicide prevention program each year.”