Alannah McGregor is one of the most amazing women I have ever met. Many of our members will know her as the chair of the Suicide Prevention Awareness Network (SPAN) Central Victoria. An active campaigner raising awareness of suicide, not only with SPAN, but as an heartfelt speaker at many other groups as well. It is unfortunate that tragedy, although bringing great heartbreak, can also lead us on a journey that we never thought possible. A journey that becomes a life calling. Alannah is no stranger to tragedy and as a result, she has enormous insight into the effect of suicide on families.
I have heard Alannah speak on a number of occasions. Her incredible willingness to share her story of her experience in losing two of her children to suicide is to be applauded. Her hope is that more people become more vigilant to the signs that could indicate that someone is struggling. This video however, where Alannah speaks to Michael Lynch from Tobin Brothers Funeral Directors is different. Sitting and watching it can make you feel like you're a part of the conversation and its impact is quite profound.
The video brings home in no uncertain terms the pain of suicide for those left behind, the decisions they need to make and the grieving process that everyone needs to go through to reconcile the events that have occurred. Needless to say, the memory never fades.
Suicide is never a way out or a means to solving problems, but people who take this action obviously believe at the time that it is their only option. If we can be alert to behavioural changes and take action early then the problems could possibly be resolved and a life saved. It should also be said that for anyone who has missed the signs that it is not their fault. It is the person who takes their own life that is ultimately responsible for that decision.
What can you do? You can watch the video and learn from Alannah's experience. You can do a Mental Health First Aid course to help you recognise the signs that may indicate someone is contemplating suicide. You can just check in on people from time to time and ask them if they are doing OK if you have any concerns at all. If we all do just one little thing to help, if we are all that little bit more aware, then we can reduce the number of people dying by suicide and not only save lives but the trauma and grief experienced by family and friends.
If this video or post has caused you to have any concerns, please reach out and talk to someone. You can always call Lifeline on 13 11 14 and have a talk.