The cost of silence is too great, too often

“To you who are Mothers, who are Fathers and who are Friends - watch, see, notice, talk and listen. 

Do not avoid the tough conversation. Do not yield to the barriers that are put up. Seek help, seek guidance. 

Use the help lines, and educate yourselves. If you are wondering IF to call, the answer is already YES. 

If you are wondering what to do, the answer is; call for guidance.  There is only “Never Again””

These are the sage words parents Angela and Grahame Williams want to share with public following the death by suicide of their son last week.

We commend their courage in the face of such personal tragedy to somehow turn something so terrible into a positive step toward helping others.

Angela and Grahame are sharing their story so no other family has to go through the pain of losing a child this way.

Like John Shanahan earlier this year, who lost his son in a similar tragedy through PTSD, these sad stories of loss must serve a higher purpose to make us all aware of the warning signs, the avenues for help and the need for more dialogue, more resources.

In the case of the Williams, there is the added poignancy of someone so young whose life is cut short, where death is an opaque curtain that cuts out a whole world of potentiality, a life largely unlived. It also highlights just how susceptible young people can be in these age groups.  In 2015, suicide accounted for one-third of deaths among people aged from 15 to 24 years of age. Data is not broken down to give us a clear indicator of how these national stats are reflected at a Ballarat level but we know we have a problem

While these figures are shaped by the fact that there are fewer deaths in a young and relatively healthy age group there can be little doubt the cost of depression and other mental health issues comes at a massive toll to greater society.

We also know the demand for support services has hit record highs, with Lifeline alone taking a million calls a year.  

This is the challenge for Governments and health services to somehow tackle the great health crisis of the mind.

But as we have said before just talking about it may be the critical starting point and we can all play a part in that.

Take the Williams advice and seek help, the cost of silence is too great.

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