Fishing for connection
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
Dwayne Worthington at home in Byford.