Six years ago this month Helen Best’s only son took his own life.
Now, after years of pain the Bega Valley local is working to prevent others from going through what she and her son went through.
“I felt like Humpty Dumpty who fell off the wall,” Ms Best, of Tura Beach, said.
“I began to seriously doubt that I, or anybody else, could put the shattered pieces of me back together again.
“Everyone else appeared to be getting on with their life, but I seemed to be drifting further away losing hope, feeling fear and increasing anxiety and depression.
“To lose someone we love to suicide is devastating.
“When that person is your child, who we take for granted will outlive us, we enter yet another dimension of seemingly intolerable grief.”
Despite support and encouragement from her family and friends, Ms Best was struggling to get by and it wasn’t until she started professional counselling that things started to turn around.
Now she wants to break the taboo on suicide and on seeking professional help.
“People often think that they should be able to get by and not need counselling, even for traumatic loss. The shame factor is huge here, people feel ashamed that they need help.”
Time and counselling helped to heal Ms Best’s wounds and although the pain is still there, she has been able to find joy again.
“When in the worst of my confusion and grief, I made a commitment to myself that, if I could get through this, I would make more information available to help others who have been bereaved by suicide,” she said.
“As I have gained more optimism I have also allowed myself to dream of a world without suicide.”
As secretary for the Bega Valley Suicide Prevention Action Network, Ms Best is now working towards educating the local community to help people find out how to recognise and assist those at risk or bereaved by suicide.
SPAN seeks to bring about more integrated services so that people do not fall through the cracks.
It has developed some useful resources and is now keen to hear from community members or groups who might require crisis cards, wish to have a guest speaker or are interested in getting involved with SPAN. For more information, email email@example.com.
If this article has raised any concerns with you, please contact one of the following organisations:
- Lifeline: 13 11 14, lifeline.org.au
- Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
- beyondblue: 1300 224 636, beyondblue.org.au