Today is World Suicide Prevention Day . I'm thinking of those who battle mental illness and their families ; especially thinking of my cousin G (1965 ~ 1990)
Twenty three years ago my vibrant , boisterous and funny cousin G , committed suicide at 24yrs. G was only a year or so older than me. It stunned and shattered me. He was my mate. It was out of the blue or so it seemed.
G had spent some time living with our family and we thought we knew him well (or so NOT !). No one really knew he suffered depression.
He had a new job, a partner who was expecting his first child (we think) and he was due to receive compensation payout for a back injury. A painful one. Then he was gone. G had his life on track, everything to live for after a period of being unsettled and having tough luck.
My father received a phone call one morning to ask him to identify G's body. I know not how or why my Dad was the one. It was devastating. It profoundly affected my Dad for a long time. I honesty don't know the exact details (who talks about this kind of thing ) ... G hung himself in bushland not far from where he lived , near where my Dad worked too.
I remember my husband telling me, he answered the phone call. After rivers of tears , I searched through all my wedding photos and my wedding video (taken 3 months before) to watch G, to see why we had missed whatever. I saw nothing but his smiling face.
For a long time I grieved G. I couldn't begin to understand the fact that he hadn't asked for help. There was more to it. I long, even now, to find where I packed my photos and see his face again.
I wished G was had known he could ask for help , 23yrs ago there was still a lot of stigma attached to mental illness and depression. It was very much Chin up mate , have a another beer . Harden up.
Nobody knew. He told no-one he was struggling .
I am so thankful attitudes have shifted and organisations exist to help those who suffer depression. The stigma is not such a burden or is it ?
There is no shame in speaking out about depression . The more we talk the more others understand. Being honest allows others to not feel so alone, if they face the same issues and are feeling ashamed or unsure . The problem lies when people want to keep it a secret and attach blame or interfere in unhelpful ways.The attitudes need to shift.
Let's keep talking. It is a day to reduce stigma, raise awareness & remember loved ones struggling or lost #WSPD
Remember you never have to solve problems on your own. There is strength in asking for help. Call a friend, chat online, or ring a stranger.
Remember, depression is an illness, not a weakness and effective treatments are available. It's important to seek help early and with the right treatment most people recover. If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be suffering from depression talk to a doctor or another health professional today. If we talk about depression and work together we can make a difference.
If you're thinking about harming yourself or ending your life call
Lifeline Crisis Support | 13 11 14 (24/7)
Kids Helpline | 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia | 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service | 1300 659 467
SANE Australia Helpline | 1800 18 7263
Veteran's Line | 1800 011 046
ADF All Hours Line | 1800 628 036
DV Counselling Line | 1800 737 732
Linking up with Essentially Jess #IBOT