COMING to terms with the death last year of a close friend from suicide has been a difficult process for Leppington's Jessica Mercuri.
In the days, weeks and months that followed, solace was hard to find. Grief and confusion became familiar and fairly constant companions.
"I had never experienced death in such a confronting way," Ms Mercuri, 20, said.
"It was a very dark time. There was overwhelming sadness and it felt like I was never going to get past it."
Ms Mercuri's friend was just 19 when he ended his life. They had been mates since primary school.
She considered him a "happy and upbeat person" and was not aware of any reason to worry about his mental state.
"That's the one thing about suicide, you just can't understand it," she said.
"Families live with it forever and that has preyed on me".
Her friend's death convinced Ms Mercuri that too many people with depression don't know where or how to get help, a situation she felt she had to do something to change.
So, she has planned a fund-raising charity dinner, the proceeds of which will go to Suicide Prevention Australia, a national body involved with community awareness and education campaigns in addition to providing policy advice to governments.
The charity dinner will be held at the Novella Events Centre in Bonnyrigg on Friday night, March 14.
Those attending will enjoy a four-course meal with beer or wine and soft drink, a fashion parade, raffles and live entertainment.
Suicide prevention education literature will also be available on the night.
Tickets are $100 a head.
"I believe that events like this can help to make a difference," she said.
■ Details: Jessica Mercuri on 0406 125 101.
For support and information about suicide prevention, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.