I lost my Dad to suicide in 2006. I found it difficult to talk about, and the stigma around suicide made it even harder. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that there were definitely warning signs, but I didn’t know enough about suicide to recognise them. Eventually meeting others bereaved by suicide helped me to heal and realise I wasn’t alone. I was shocked to discover that six men die by suicide every day. I had no idea the rate was this high, or that suicide occurs so frequently. It frustrates me to hear people say that they don’t need suicide prevention training because it hasn’t impacted them. It can happen to anyone.
I’m now a passionate advocate for suicide prevention and a founding member and current Chairperson of my local Suicide Prevention Network. I joined the Suicide Prevention Australia Lived Experience Panel because I think the more we talk about suicide, the more hope we have of preventing it. I think it helps people bereaved by suicide to realise that they are not alone, and gives them hope for the future.
My message to others is that you may not see it now, but things will get better. Even in the darkest days, there is a glimmer of light. And where this is light, there is hope.