In­sight comes the hard way for be­reaved dad

THE ta­boo sub­ject of sui­cide is one David Kelly is will­ing to talk about openly, de­spite be­ing touched by it a decade ago.

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Be A Lifeline For A Lifeline -

THE man­ager of tele­phone and on­line cri­sis ser­vices at Life­line, David Kelly, shared his per­sonal story with the Western Sub­urbs Weekly in sup­port of a drive to raise much-needed funds for the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

“I didn’t know any­thing about Life­line – or sui­cide – prior to 2007,” he said.

“We all think it hap­pens to other peo­ple, it doesn’t hap­pen to us. We don’t re­ally un­der­stand, we don’t re­ally talk about it, it’s one of those sub­jects.”

But in the blink of an eye, Mr Kelly’s life changed for­ever.

“Then it hap­pens to you,” he said.

“We lost our son Guy in 2007.

“He was 20. We didn’t see it com­ing.

“He was a beau­ti­ful young man, he played in a band, he had good friends but he had some strug­gles in his life and it reached that point of tak­ing his life, and our world changed in a mo­ment.

“As a fam­ily, you feel your world ends, all your sense of mean­ing dis­ap­pears and you have no idea how you will ever sur­vive that pain.”

Now a pas­sion­ate sui­cide preven­tion ad­vo­cate, Mr Kelly chan­nelled his grief into help­ing oth­ers to avoid the same fate as his son.

“More than 3000 Aus­tralians take their own life each year, which is far more than deaths on

the road,” he said.

“We train vol­un­teers to be able to pro­vide a ser­vice that sup­ports peo­ple to make safe choices in their dark­est mo­ments.”

Mr Kelly said that about 70 vol­un­teers were trained each year to be­come cri­sis sup­port work­ers, at a cost of $4000 each.

“We cur­rently have 110 vol­un­teers and are about to jump to 140,” he said.

“It’s not easy; it takes 12 months to get them job ready and it’s hard work, but so re­ward­ing.

“We are not prob­lem solvers or res­cuers, but we are lis­ten­ers, and we are here to turn to for those who feel they are lost and alone.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d470699

Life­line tele­phone and on­line cri­sis ser­vices man­ager David Kelly.

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