Reducing the stigma of suicide

Suicide survivor Justin Geange. Photo Inga Williams / The Reporter
Suicide survivor Justin Geange. Photo Inga Williams / The Reporter Inga Williams

ON Saturday night, 10 Top Ten nights were held across the globe with the aim of sparking conversations about mental health and reducing the stigma of talking about suicide, and its prevention.

Daisy Hill's Justin Geange hosted one of these events. The father of two is a suicide survivor.

"In 2013 I was made redundant after working for the same company for 20 years," he said.

"The realisation that I would not be able to support and provide for my family sent me into despair.

"Ending my life and through doing so freeing my family from financial burden was, in my mind, the only way out."

Mr Geange made his preparations and carried them out but was saved by his wife who found him before it was too late.

It has been a long emotional recovery for Justin and his family since that day two years ago - but Mr Geange is committed to helping others out of the pit he was once in.

"I realised my family was not caught up in my pay packet. What they wanted more than anything was to have me around," he said.

"I was given a second chance; there are so many families that don't get that chance. "I didn't realise how big an effect my actions had on my family, my mates and my work colleagues.

"Suicide is like a hand grenade; it sends shrapnel through the community and hurts a lot of people."

Today, Mr Geange dedicates his efforts to being a mental health support worker and member of Suicide Prevention Australia.

He said talking about suicide and mental health was the only way to stop the stigma.

"I really want to encourage people to get real, to share their experiences, talk about how they're feeling," he said.

"A conversation can go a long way."

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