A lot of these deaths are preventable. To compare this, the road toll for 2018 was 159.
Alex is not the first person in my family I have lost to suicide. In 1985 after a long battle with
schizophrenia and the WA health system, my mother took her life. As a young boy I
managed to stop several attempts by her.
Once I didn’t.
This started a lot of problems in my life. I too have tried ending my own life. I know this story inside and out.
A massive stabilizing influence in my life was my grandfather. A larger than life character
and a World War II veteran. He had a huge influence on my life and I believe without him I
would not be here. He also ended his life the same way as my mother when I was 27.
To say I feel let down by the system is understatement. I have run from suicide most of my
life. But I will no longer run. I am told by all the professionals to give it some time to heal.
For me there is no healing.
If I can save one life, then my life is worth living.
I’m only a plumber, but the answer is simple. Prevention, education and community support is
the way to reduce the suicide death rate and reduce mental health distress in our young
people and for everyone.
I’ve got some ideas and they seem pretty simple to me. Our schools’ curriculums must be
expanded to include early intervention and prevention mental health programs. More hours and
more staff must be allocated, there must be more support given to schools and staff on the
ground to deal with this crisis. The whole approach to mental health education at schools
seems to be fragmented and uncoordinated. We must consolidate our approach to mental
health education to achieve real results.
Our young people also want a space outside of school and home, with qualified staff who
can establish one on one relationships with young people that is not clinical treatment.
It can be peer focussed and help nurture their skills to give them confidence, a choice of
activities that interest them coupled with a text or online chat rooms. A program where the
kids don’t need parental permission, that is available for all kids, not just our ‘at risk’ ones.
We must all fight to remove the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide. It is not a
hushed secret that it’s happening.
They must feel like getting help for a mental health issue is no different to asking for a
Panadol for a headache.
I honestly feel if we can do this they will take these lessons into adult life and use them. We
will save lives. One of these lives saved may be your grandchild.
There is no support for people like me, left behind after my mother’s death. I felt like I had
the plague. I know we have moved on from those times, but not that far.
After my son died we received a pamphlet from the coroner on how to deal with a suicide.
For me this was useless.
Through Medicare I can receive 10 counselling sessions, what happens after those 10
sessions? What if you cannot afford any more? You are on your own.
In 1985 there was no support for me and in 2019 there is still none, what a progressive
society we are. Why is it left up to grieving decimated people to paint trees blue to raise
I am not a mental health expert, but an emergency room is not the place for everyone in
crisis. It is obviously still necessary but we perhaps need to look at setting up a safe place for
people to talk about their suicidal thoughts without fear of being locked up and put on
drugs. I’m told most people standing on the edge will come down if they can talk about it.
Our families and parents need support in convenient, affordable locations that is person
I live in a regional area and community support for people is desperately lacking. It’s a no
brainer that if we provide support services in regional and remote areas, people wouldn’t
need to travel to expensive and distressing hospitals, especially our young people.
Again I am not a financial expert, but it must be better value for money to save these lives
than to have to deal with the aftermath or pay for a hospital bed.
To our politicians vying for my vote this election I beg of you, please stop wasting our money
on measures that are not working. Start to invest it in innovative community support and
prevention instead. There is absolutely no reason why Australia cannot lead the world in
this and turn these embarrassing and disgusting numbers around.
I beg you our elected leaders to lead. Look further than votes and the next election. Make
bipartisan changes for our children’s long term future.
I was disappointed to read WA Labor’s election commitment which was so focussed on
more beds and more crisis care that its just fuelling the crisis end even more. It would be
like me putting a cup under a dripping tap rather than fixing the dripping tap. It doesn’t
make sense and it’s causing more trauma than it is solving.
I believe the very reason for our being is to launch our children into their lives, to live and
flourish. To have this taken away is too painful to bear.
I sincerely hope that none of you ever have to walk in my shoes.
If you have lost someone close to you to suicide, please act. If you haven’t lost anyone,
It may be your loved one you save. Don’t be in any doubt that we are in the middle of a