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.”