Sui­cide stats hit hard

The re­gion’s tragedies are too many

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS - Liana Turner liana.turner@tweed­dai­lynews.com.au

AS WORLD Sui­cide Preven­tion Day rolls around on Sun­day, Brent Simp­son has one mes­sage for peo­ple of the Tweed: you are not alone.

Mr Simp­son, of Mur­willum­bah, is the founder of the Heavy­hiterz Foun­da­tion.

Af­ter over­com­ing his own sui­cide at­tempts – three times – he’s built an in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity of peo­ple from all walks of life who come to­gether in sup­port through tough times.

He said the foun­da­tion’s Face­book group had gath­ered some 4000 mem­bers in just a few years.

“It’s a safe space for peo­ple to be able to open up about how they’re feel­ing and reach­ing out,” he said.

But there’s a long way to go yet.

“In Mur­willum­bah alone in Jan­uary there were 11 recorded sui­cides,” Mr Simp­son said.

He feared the hard­ships faced by many in the Tweed this year might only see this num­ber es­ca­late.

While the waters of the April floods have long sub­sided, Mr Simp­son – who de­liv­ered piz­zas to Mur­willum­bah fam­i­lies dur­ing the dis­as­ter – said many were still reel­ing from the loss this brought.

Mr Simp­son was this year part of the Na­tional Sui­cide Preven­tion Con­ven­tion in Bris­bane and has been in­volved with the Tweed By­ron Sui­cide Preven­tion Com­mit­tee.

He said de­spite all the money go­ing into large or­gan­i­sa­tions tar­geted at ad­dress­ing sui­cide rates, the sta­tis­tics were only ris­ing.

“They’ve not re­duced,” he said.

“There’s a lot to be an­swered for.”

But he said al­low­ing peo­ple to con­nect through lived ex­pe­ri­ence was a step in the right di­rec­tion.

Mr Simp­son urged peo­ple to re­mem­ber on World Sui­cide Preven­tion Day tomorrow, and on all days, it’s not weak to reach out for help.

“It’s im­por­tant to know you are not alone,” Mr Simp­son said.

PHOTO: LIANA TURNER

HIGH HOPES: Heavy­hiterz Foun­da­tion founder Brent Simp­son hopes to help more peo­ple reach out in times of per­sonal hard­ship.

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