Let’s stop digging graves

SUICIDE.

 

Yep, I said it. The word everyone is so scared of. The word we all tip toe around. I’ve heard it referred to as a “contagion”. I hear baby boomers and right wing conservatives in the media saying “youth are too sensitive” … mocking us – “oh did that hurt your feelings”…

Aside from the obvious raw end of the deal youth today face such as the housing crisis, trying to survive on a casual job with no penalty rates and the fact we’ve gotta start paying back out HECS on minimum wage now when $500k/pa earner – good old Malcom Turnbull didn’t even have to pay for his degree… This goes SO much deeper than just a “whinge”.

 

Honestly, this post is different to most. It’s not as eloquent or thought out. You know why? Because I’m upset, disheartened, confused and angry. Yep, this post was probably written in desperation. It’s raw and it’s confronting. But so is the fact that at 22 I’m losing an alarming number of friends every year due to suicide

 

We’re trapped in a never ending cycle of stress and depression. We’ve got no coping skills because we were never taught any. We don’t go to therapy because our appointments are always cancelled, postponed or we have to wait 3+ months at absolutely no fault of our own. We go to ED after a suicide attempt and we’re sent home with a pack of Valium and a stern warning! Hospital staff perpetuate shame and stigma attached to mental illness. Every one says to “talk about it” but no one really does!

 

This passing week has brought up a lot of shit for me, yet another precious life has been lost. A beautiful fellow model friend of mine, Bianca “Bink” Bell, lost her best friend Liam Flynn. This hit home hard for me. I know what Liam’s friends and loved ones are going through and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. And I know the headspace Liam would have been in the night he lost his battle to mental illness.

 

I have Liam’s mothers’ permission to pay tribute to him in this post “Liam would love to raise awareness” she said to me. I am travelling to Sydney to attend the celebration of Liam’s life next week. Liam had plans to visit Tamworth next week for the 4th of July mental health fundraiser – he’d already purchased his tickets! Liam was supposed to be celebrating his 21st Birthday on the 8th of July, but instead, we are holding his funeral on the 6th…Liam’s parents have even offered to donate all funds raised over the funeral costs to Dean House because “that’s what Liam would have wanted” – they wanted to support this cause in their late sons honour and writing this honestly brings me to tears.

 

“Liam was intelligent, a writer of music, a poet, a truly compassionate, empathetic and sensitive soul.” – Bianca Bell

 

I’m tired of “thoughts and prayers” – and so was Liam. He was so open about his mental health, I know he was my friend Bianca’s biggest support. He was only 20 years old! 20!

 

 A screen capture from a facebook live video where Bianca and Liam we're organising a rally of people from Sydney to drive up to Tamworth for the 4th of July Mental Health Fundraiser.

A screen capture from a facebook live video where Bianca and Liam we're organising a rally of people from Sydney to drive up to Tamworth for the 4th of July Mental Health Fundraiser.

 

We’re losing 20 year olds every week, 15 year olds, 25 year olds! We’re losing people of all ages who’ve been failed by the system – but we’re losing SO many young people. How do we cope when all our friends are dying by suicide and no one will listen to us or help!?

“Liam was an advocate for mental health awareness and was extremely passionate about the cause” – Bianca Bell

1 in 5 people will suffer with mental illness at some point in their lives.

The system is BROKEN. And it desperately needs fixing.

I started a petition to change the mental health system – a pitiful amount of people have signed it in the first two days of its existence. It’s free, it takes 5 seconds to do – yet the vast majority won’t do it! Once again, I’ll probably be attacked for “having a whinge”… and you know what – damn right I’m having a whinge. I’m FED UP! I’m fed up with my friends dying due to a critically underfunded mental health system. I’m fed up with the pressure put on the staff who work at these services – it isn’t their fault! I’m fed up with the close-mindedness and lack of education with in the community in regards to mental health!

I’m bloody heartbroken that another beautiful soul has been taken by mental illness.

Tamworth has a population of over 40,000 people, if under one quarter of residents donated just ONE dollar – we’d have $10,000 to go directly into sparking change in our rural mental health system.

Imagine taking over 40,000 signatures into parliament?! They couldn’t ignore us then! So why won’t we? Why won’t we support this?!

Yep, I’m frustrated. I want to fix it, but I just don’t know what else one person can do!

We need 200 people at my fundraiser event on the 4th of July to make it viable – that’s less than 0.5% of the population of the town… Right now, I’m struggling to reach that number. It’s crushing to be shown such little support for something that honestly affects the whole community.

I really do need to make a huge point here as well and say that I am absolutely I’m overwhelmed and overjoyed by the generosity of a FEW – for god’s sake the Flynn family have just LOST their son and they’re doing all they can to help out! I’m so grateful that people like you exist – all of you who’ve donated, sponsored, supported, bought tickets, spread awareness – thankyou, truly, from the bottom of my heart.

Here’s to hoping it’s not too late, here’s to hoping we can change things.

And here’s to Liam, who at just 20 years old didn’t see any other option than to leave this world… We are all so sorry that it was too late for you, and we promise we're doing everything in our power to make a change.

RIP 

Liam Thomas Flynn

08/07/1997 – 18/06/2018

 

If you would like to donate to Liam's Funeral you can do so here: 

If this brings up any issues for you, please call lifeline on 13 11 14, or call 000 if it is an emergency. Please see your GP and get a referral to a mental health professional if you think you may be suffering from mental illness - and always tell a trusted friend.

Look after yourselves,

Tyler xxx