Suicide is the largest killer of young people in Australia, killing more of our youth each year than car accidents. Yet it is increasingly misunderstood and largely closeted.
People commit suicide for a range of different reasons. Often, suicidal people believe they are not wanted anymore or think that no one would notice if they were no longer there. Others may suffer from depression or other mental health issues.
The latest statistics indicate that 24 youths aged 18-25 died on the road, while more than double committed suicide. 130 young people aged 15-19 and 232 aged 20-24 years committed suicide in 2014.
Sarah* experienced suicidal thoughts while in high school, and attributes her bright personality to moving past them.
“There were certainly times where I felt like there was a better option”, she said. “My personality is so bright and happy that it outshone it. My care for everyone around me, even a random stranger, is so much that I couldn’t do that to any person.”
“I can’t believe that I ever thought of it”, she regrets.
Not only did Sarah face her own suicidal feelings, but she also talked down one of her close friends from suicide while in school hours.
“She texted me and said, ‘there’s so much blood.’ When I found her she was shaking in the girls toilet with blood everywhere and her wrists covered in toilet paper to try to stop the bleeding.”
Sarah and her friend have both overcome these feelings, with the support of friends, family, and clinical help also.
The devastation and strain on families left behind by this kind of death of loved of ones is immense, and services are limited.
Katrina Dee, who lost her husband to suicide in 2012, says “It still feels as though people think ‘well your loved one chose to die so you just have to deal with it’… which made me realize how little our community understands suicide.”
If we get the message out that help is available and to seek it first before deciding on death, then maybe we could prevent some of these deaths.
One means of sending this message is a documentary film, currently in the making- The Suicide Ripple Effect. The documentary is based on the story of Kevin Hines who, at age 19, attempted to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, but survived. The film also highlights the stories of other individuals and families who are utilizing their personal tragedy to bring hope and healing to others.
The documentary is about the devastating effects of suicide and the tremendous positive ripple effects of advocacy, inspiration and hope that are helping millions heal & stay alive.
Kevin Hines is today a mental health advocate, travelling the world to spread messages of hope, recovery and wellness to those impacted by suicide.
More awareness on the impact of suicide on individuals and others is needed to educate both the youth and adults of our society. This is a death that with support and correct guidance, we can prevent.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide and you are in Australia, call:
- Emergency on 000 (or 112 from a mobile phone)
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
*Name changed for privacy reasons.