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Image: Martin Ollman

Quiet Revolution: Carrie Leeson

Laura Peppas

For our third magazine, the ‘Hidden Issue’, we wanted to shine the light on Canberra women on the forefront of social justice in our city. 

They’re the women bravely leading the charge against Canberra’s big issues: issues that while many are uncomfortable to talk about, are reaching devastating proportions in our city. With rising suicide, drug use and domestic violence rates, these women are fighting to ensure their cause doesn’t become another overlooked statistic. Meet six leaders starting their own quiet revolution.

As the CEO of Lifeline Canberra, Carrie Leeson is facing an uphill battle. Suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44 years of age, claiming the lives of 2522 Australians in 2013 nationally.

In the ACT alone, the rate of suicide has jumped by just over 50 per cent from 2012 – 2013. Carrie believes the first step is to dispel the myth that talking about suicide leads to more suicide.

“We are working hard to educate and instil confidence in communities around Australia to get the conversations happening around mental health and suicide,” she says.

“The reality is, if we as a community are better engaged and more confident in speaking to one another about our health and our need for help this will lead to a better future for all.”

As CEO, Carrie is primarily accountable for the strategic leadership, corporate and financial management, governance/risk, as well as community and stakeholder engagement of the organisation.

“It’s a seven day a week job but very family focused and supportive of my young family,” she says.

“Lifeline provides an anonymous and professional environment for those who feel lost or stuck to articulate their thoughts and feelings, to reflect on their journey, and to find a way forward, however that may look.”

One of Carrie’s priorities now is to look into the factors that have led to Canberra’s rate of suicide increase. “It is certain that more research and measurement is imperative if we are to understand this better,” she says.

“We are calling on government for this to be a priority.” Carrie believes one of the most effective ways to bring about change is “to educate ourselves.”

“This can bring about the confidence to ask a loved one, friend, colleague or stranger if they are ok, and more importantly give one the skills to assist if the answer is not a positive one,” she says.

“We all know the power of speech, but only those who have spoken out about their experience know how truly liberating and healing it can be.”

We’ll be releasing the women of Quiet Revolution’s stories individually over the coming weeks. You can read the article in full in our latest Magazine, available for free at these locations while stocks last. 

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Feature image by Martin Ollman

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Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author

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