Don't be scared to speak out.




LAST THURSDAY marked the first anniversary of the death of a friend and neighbour.

On November 21, 2018, Mark fled into the nearby bush at dusk and took his own life, leaving behind a grieving and (mostly) shocked community and family.

With the genius of hindsight, some of his friends and neighbours can now see that he was in trouble for several months.

I live with depression and I had recognised his struggle but, as he was English -- with the typical reserve that goes with that particular territory -- I was reluctant to put him on the spot and ask if he needed help. I will never do that again with any acquaintance; if I have to ask awkward questions because I suspect someone is in trouble then I will, and bugger the embarrassment. In my defence, there were other factors going on in the background of which I had no knowledge, and I didn't know that he had been suicidal years earlier. But I can't help wondering had I asked if he needed help (even though others had and it was refused), could I have made a difference. I'll never know.

As part of my need to look after my own emotional health in the dreadful aftermath of Mark's death -- I will never forget the horror of having to inspect my garden shed to see if he had chosen that as the place to end his life...

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