These days Mitch describes himself as “mentally strong” although he believes “you’re never completely recovered from mental illness. I feel confident in myself that if something quite tumultuous was to come up, I’d be quite ready and equipped to deal with it,” he says.
For Lisa’s part, she hopes that by talking about the loss of her son, she’ll prompt others to have the conversation with their loved ones. To this end, she’s undertaken speaker training with Suicide Prevention Australia. “If you see a change in the person’s anxiety level, you say to them, ‘Have you made any plans to suicide?’ You ask them directly. It’s a tough thing …. you’ve got to be very brave,” Lisa says, adding: “That would never have entered my mind prior [to Elliot dying]. The other thing is that if someone then answers yes, then you’ve got to know, then, what to do, how to help,” she says.
Many thanks to Lived Experience Network members Lisa and Mitch for sharing their lived experience of suicide in this article alongside comments from SPA Director Alan Woodward and Martin Fisk of MensLink in relation to research on suicide and young men in particular.
If you or someone you love is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.
Young people aged 5 to 25 years can call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
You can also visit Communities Matter for information and resources on how to get help and give help.