I was 15 when I lost my father to suicide.
My family were devastated and my sister was devastated by the news.
I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t feel like I could express myself.
I didn- and I still don’t- want to express how hard it was to be my own person in this world.
The day after my father died, I went to the library to find out how much I could learn about suicide.
There was a slide show about suicide prevention and I thought I’d watch a couple of clips of people who had gone through the process.
One of them was a young woman from Australia.
She was struggling to find her voice.
She told me that as a child she had struggled to tell her parents she was suicidal, but when she went through the suicide-prevention process it was like nothing had changed.
I watched the slide show and thought I knew what suicide was, but then I thought of that young woman who had been so hard on herself.
I remembered that she was the only person I’d ever seen say, ‘I want to die.’
I think that’s why I felt so sad when I watched that video.
I felt like I knew everything, and I felt it was time for me to die.
When I watched the clip, I couldn- and still don- feel like it was the right time.
It was not.
I went home, and the next day, I decided to make myself the poster child for suicide prevention in Australia.
It felt like the right thing to do.
A friend of mine, a young journalist, told me to go to her and ask her to write a piece about suicide in Australia and to try to get the story out.
She said, ‘We can’t do that, you have to do it yourself.’
So I did.
I had a few meetings with the suicide hotline, and then I contacted the newspaper.
It turned out that the young woman in the video was in fact a woman who knew about suicide, who wanted to write about it, and who wanted the story to be out there.
It’s not a small thing.
It can make all the difference.
I also wrote an article for the paper.
After I got it published, I got a phone call from the chief executive of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in Sydney, who said, ”Thank you very much, you’re going to have to talk to me about this.”’
The next day the chief was in my office and I said, I’m glad to have the story.
She said, What did you want me to tell you?
And I said: ‘You have to know about suicide.’
And she said, You have to be able to talk about suicide to people.
It wasn’t until I told her the story that she understood how important it was.
But I wasn’t going to stop.
I wanted to be a part of it.
On the day of the election, I walked into Parliament House and I stood at the front door of the House.
There were about 10 of us there, all wearing our suicide t-shirts and all wearing pink.
I stood in the front row and asked the Speaker: ‘Mr Speaker, what do you think about the Prime Minister’s suicide announcement?’
He said: ”It’s a terrible thing, Mr Speaker.
I am so sorry.”
I said I thought we should do something about it.
Then I asked him what I could do to help.
I said we could take the pressure off.
I told him I was a journalist, that I’d been thinking about writing a book, that there are people in the world who need to know.
He said, Oh, you’ve got to be careful, we don’t want to hear about suicide anymore.
So that day, we went to a press conference where we were asked to talk.
When we walked in, there were five of us in the room.
There weren’t many of us that I knew, so I asked the speaker, ‘Do you know anyone who has been through this?’
He said no.
Then he said: It’s important that we talk about it in a way that’s not so divisive and that’s when I started thinking about doing something about this.
He had just spoken to the Prime Minster, and he said he wanted us to do something, so we all went out and got a cup of coffee and we sat down and we talked.
Later that day I went into the Senate chamber and we went over what we could do.
He had spoken about the need to talk, and we were all thinking, this is the right way to talk: ‘We want to make it easier for people to talk.’
We didn’t have a lot of time to think about it but we knew that we had to do more.
So we said, what else do we need to do?
We asked the Government for more money to support suicide prevention. Then he