Yellow ribbons and hearts remain dotted throughout Kiama, Gerringong and Jamberoo after a spate of youth suicides rocked the tight-knit communities earlier this year.
Community members have joined with community leaders to offer comfort to those impacted, and support for those struggling with their mental health - particularly through the pandemic.
It's often hard to get accurate, reliable and up-to-date information around suicide in particular areas - yet these statistics are so vital for communities seeking to better understand why they occur, and to work with local services to prevent more deaths.
The launch on Monday of a new statewide suicide monitoring system that gives timely access to information about every suicide - and every suspected suicide - aims to help local communities such as these, and save lives.
These registers are already in place in Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania, and Suicide Prevention Australia has been pushing for NSW to follow suit for some time.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray said the launch of the NSW Suicide Monitoring and Data Management System was a significant milestone in suicide prevention.
"Suicide is a difficult issue to talk about but we need to know more about the suicides that do happen, and in real time," she says. That information can be used by suicide prevention organisations to deliver the services and programs that are needed, right now. It will show what's working, and what's not.
According to the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative there's up to 60 suicides each year in the region. The rates fluctuate, but they remain consistently higher than national and NSW averages.
Across the nation more than 3000 people died by suicide last year. However the first report from the new register reveals there hasn't yet been the spike in suicide rates predicted in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That's good news in an otherwise gloomy year. The challenges faced by everyone on the South Coast have been extreme, to say the least. Fires, floods, pandemic - a triple whammy that's testing the wellbeing of even the most resilient. Let's hope this register - and other measures locally, state and nationwide - help to make a real impact.
Phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.