Fish­ing for con­nec­tion

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By BEN SMITH

DWAYNE Wor­thing­ton re­mem­bers ex­actly what his fa­ther’s last words to him were.

“He went on a fish­ing trip and I’d sep­a­rated from my first part­ner. He’d come home and I’d said ‘I’ll catch you later, old mate’ and he said, ‘You prob­a­bly won’t’.

“It was some­thing that’s al­ways stuck.”

His fa­ther Ross took his own life in 2002 and in the af­ter­math he moved north to the Pil­bara re­gion to es­cape the pain.

“I started liv­ing my life for my­self and do­ing the sort of stuff I did grow­ing up and bought back into the re­al­ity of who I am and who I want to be through his pass­ing,” the Byford res­i­dent said.

It was up north he took it upon him­self to reach out to his fel­low work­ers, hav­ing seen their men­tal health de­te­ri­o­rate be­ing away from their fam­i­lies and friends.

“One of the ways I used to help was I had a boat up there and in­stead of them go­ing out drink­ing, fight­ing, par­ty­ing, they would come fish­ing with me,” he said.

“Out of 8-10 peo­ple who have done that, they’ve still got pho­tos to­day of their first fish­ing trip.”

Mr Wor­thing­ton said he started the fish­ing trips to break the monotony of every­day life for FIFO work­ers and to help them open up.

“You need to bring it to light be­cause we seem to bot­tle it up and not deal with it and then it gets worse and peo­ple end up how they do,” he said.

As a long-time fundraiser for Lifeline, he is part of the Step­ping Out of the Shad­ows cam­paign, telling his own story to high­light the im­por­tance of rais­ing money for Lifeline.

Money raised will help Lifeline train more than 100 new tele­phone cri­sis vol­un­teers ev­ery year and in­vest in mar­ket­ing cam­paigns to re­cruit vol­un­teers to an­swer ev­ery call they re­ceive.

His step­mother is cam­paign leader Ros Wor­thing­ton, who was Ross’ part­ner when he died.

“We must all work to­gether to get rid of the stigma as­so­ci­ated with de­pres­sion and sui­cide. With this cam­paign driven by di­verse, grass-roots sto­ries, a change is in the mak­ing,” she said.

“Their shad­ows are pow­er­ful les­sons for our com­mu­nity about the need to join to­gether to give light and aware­ness on de­pres­sion.”

Mr Wor­thing­ton said he had al­ways been some­one who wanted to aid peo­ple in their strug­gles and it was im­por­tant to en­cour­age peo­ple to speak up and un­der­stand what oth­ers are go­ing through.

“The per­son that sui­cides, they don’t want to die, they want to es­cape. That’s the big­gest thing peo­ple don’t un­der­stand,” he said.

“They think ‘Oh well, they’re self­ish, they’ve killed him­self, life’s over’, but they don’t want to die; most of them just want to es­cape from the pain.

“If you can be that per­son who can turn that light on for that per­son to go out and be happy, then that’s what I do it for. Life’s too short, it could be over to­mor­row.”

■ Join Com­mu­nity News­pa­per Group in sup­port­ing the Step­ping Out of the Shad­ows cam­paign to raise $1 mil­lion for Lifeline WA. We are en­cour­ag­ing our 1 mil­lion read­ers* to do­nate $10 each. Visit www.life­linewa.org.au.

If you or some­one you know is in need of help, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/geth­elp.

*Source: em­matm con­ducted by Ip­sos Me­di­act for 12 months end­ing Jan­uary – Read­ers in Last 4 Weeks. Nielsen DRM

Pic­ture: Marie Nirme www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d470095

Dwayne Wor­thing­ton at home in Byford.

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