On the back of the successful self-harm awareness day – Wear It Purple – this month, event founder Katherine Hudson will form a committee to keep the issue permanently on the agenda.

Hudson, 17, said she was overwhelmed with the support shown around Australia for the gay suicide and self harm prevention day on October 15, after having only a few weeks to get the campaign off the ground.

“We’ve had amazing support,” Hudson said. “We didn’t think it would be this big, in fact, we thought if we only got two people in purple, that’d be an achievement.”

Supporters of the day included ACON, Sydney Star Observer, hundreds of online followers and federal mental health minister Mark Butler.

Hudson, who attends Burwood Girls’ High School in Sydney, said while her school was supportive of the day, she knew of instances where some students were too afraid to ask their schools to participate.

“If kids are too afraid to ask their principal whether to formally support the day, it seems to show there is a problem,” Hudson said.

The Wear It Purple committee will be made-up of young people keen to keep the issue on the boil and link in with other supportive groups around the world.

“We’re hoping to be the voice of gay youth in Australia” Hudson said.

“We’re trying to combat this assumption of taboo and assumption of silence.”

Hudson said Wear It Purple would continue in 2011 and the new committee would speak to organisers in the US, who recently held a similar event on October 20.

“If we can get people across the globe, and it doesn’t matter if it’s on the 15th or the 20th, on a particular day to wear a colour to show support, I think would really aid the cause,” she said.

“Being gay in high school sucked 20 years ago and it still sucks today.

“I think things like the [US] It Gets Better project are really great, but we don’t want it to be better when we graduate Year 12, we want it better for the kids who are in Year 9 and 10, who are coming out now, they shouldn’t have to suffer pain for two or three more years.”

info: Follow the Wear It Purple campaign on  Facebook and Twitter.

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