WHEN Carolyn Gargiulo’s son Rowan told her he was having drug problems in 2011, she avoided any talk of mental health issues.
Two weeks later Rowan committed suicide and Carolyn was left wishing she’d asked the hard questions.
“I never asked my son if he was having suicidal thoughts because I thought that it was something you shouldn’t talk about for fear of putting ideas into someone’s head,” Carolyn said.
“There were conversations I should have had but didn’t because he was going through drug withdrawals. I should have had those conversations regardless.
“We need to raise the awareness of suicide and encourage families and friends of someone who is depressed or going through a personal crisis to recognise the signs that their loved one may be contemplating suicide.
“We also need to put our fear aside and ask the direct questions and reach out.”
Since Rowan’s death, Carolyn has been determined to make his life count.
So in April, she will walk the Kokoda Track to raise funds for Lifeline as part of its Fearless Leaders Kokoda Challenge 2013.
“Lifeline states on their webpage that almost everyone who takes their own life gives some clue or warning.
“In hindsight I can recognise the clues now but, through my lack of awareness and understanding, I missed most of them.
“All I know is that I can’t get that time back. But what I can do is help others not to make the same mistakes I made.
“By supporting Lifeline, we help get the message out to more people and build awareness and we can ensure that counsellors are on the other end of the phone or computer to assist those in need.”
Carolyn will hold a fundraiser next Wednesday, “Dine for Lifeline”, at the Midlands Golf Club, with a percentage of each meal donated to the cause.
There will also be door prizes, raffles, auctions and other fun games and activities.
It will be held at 6.30pm and call Carolyn on 5331 4400 or 0414 576 522 to reserve a seat.