Bat­tling for lost mate

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - NEWS - An­nie Caughey An­[email protected]­news.com.au

AUS­TRALIA is los­ing too many young lives to sui­cide, it seems no one is im­mune to the dark­ness of con­di­tions like de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety.

The is­sues sur­round­ing men­tal health can of­ten be muf­fled by the im­pound­ing pres­sures of modern life, but one Caloun­dra res­i­dent is giv­ing her voice to the cause.

Amy Rat­cliffe lost her beloved and close friend Shane Collins to sui­cide ear­lier this year.

She said the shock­ing news not only left her and fi­ance Daniel Ben­nett heart­bro­ken, it rocked res­i­dents through­out the en­tire re­gion.

“He was such a well-loved per­son in the com­mu­nity,” she said.

“He was the last per­son you’d ex­pect to make that de­ci­sion.”

When Mrs Rat­cliffe first heard that men­tal health char­ity beyond­blue would be the sole ben­e­fi­ciary of this year’s Tough Mud­der, she in­stantly signed up.

Af­ter los­ing not only Shane but many oth­ers close to her from sui­cide, she de­vel­oped a deep pas­sion to el­e­vate the con­ver­sa­tion about men­tal health, par­tic­u­lar­ity in young men.

“That’s what re­ally stim­u­lated us. If some­one like Shane was in that sit­u­a­tion, then any­body is at risk,” she said.

“You re­ally think could you have done more. Would pick­ing up the phone have made a dif­fer­ence? I think you go through a myr­iad of emo­tions, but then for me it comes – what can I do to make a dif­fer­ence? How can I stop this from hap­pen­ing to an­other per­son that I love?”

The course was a gru­elling 20km stretch of un­for­giv­ing high walls, mud crawls and other ob­sta­cles, but with the mem­ory of Shane in the back of their brains, the pair said they never lost sight of fo­cus.

“In the lead up to the race we watched the video from Shane’s ser­vice to remember why we were do­ing it,” she said.

They suc­cess­fully com­pleted the course in just un­der five hours and while they raised over $3000 that will be di­rectly do­nated to the char­ity, the real achieve­ment for the cou­ple was bring­ing the men­tal health con­ver­sa­tion into the pub­lic spot­light.

“If we just cre­ate aware­ness and open the con­ver­sa­tion for peo­ple to not be afraid to talk about how they are feel­ing, par­tic­u­larly for young men,” she said.

If you or some­one you know is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing men­tal health prob­lems, phone Life­line on 13 11 14.

To donate to Amy and Daniel’s cause, visit bit.ly/amy­tough­mud­der.

PHOTO: RACHAEL LANG­FORD

TOUGH NUTS: Amy Rat­cliffe and Daniel Ben­nett com­pete at the 2018 Tough Mud­der af­ter rais­ing $3000 for beyond­blue.

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