Trigger warning: the following article contains reference to suicide
It’s a Saturday in February, the day is stunning with blue skies and its forecast to top about 34 degrees.
My wife and I are driving along the Mitchell Freeway in Perth heading to a friend’s 50th Birthday lunch, talking about life in general and having a few laughs along the way.
During our travels, my mobile rang. It was a mutual friend, so we answered via the hands-free system in the car.
In an instant our upbeat happiness went from 100 to zero. We learned that a good friend in Queensland had taken his own life. A lovely human being, our friend, is a married male, in his 50’s.
Devastatingly, in Australia and throughout the world, people are taking their lives every day. In fact, each day in our country alone 9 lives are lost to suicide.
So why did our friend feel that the only way to get rid of the pain within was to end his life? Regrettably we don’t know. We will never know because he is gone from our lives forever.
Did we see it coming? No, we didn’t.
Why am I sharing this?
Well to say this news hit my wife and I for a six would be an understatement. However, we both know all too well how debilitating mental illness can be. This is why we have both been so proactive in travelling across Australia over the years sharing our own story and our learnings in the hope to educate people.
Our ultimate goal is to have mental illness being common speak among all of us. In turn, educating people about prevention strategies which will hopefully drive these suicide statistics in a downward trend.
One thing my wife and I have learnt along our own journey is the importance of reaching out to someone who is struggling. Simply taking the time out of your day to start a conversation, to listen, showing empathy and guiding them to get the professional assistance they need is paramount.
Remember, not everyone wants to speak straight away so keep checking in to see how they are on a regular basis.
Also, keep in mind that we are human and we won’t always be able to save everyone, so being kind to ourselves in such times is extremely important. Being kind to ourselves doesn’t just mean not being hard on ourselves but to also seek professional help to talk through such events. In doing so, this can make a world of difference for your own mental health and wellbeing.
Need to talk to someone?
Don’t go it alone. Please reach out for help.
Lifeline: 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au