Leading up to White Wreath Day – In Remembrance of All Victims of Suicide May 29 this year White Wreath was very busy following a shocking murder on the Gold Coast by a mentally ill man. I featured in the Gold Coast Bulletin (see further along in newsletter) and also on Channel Nine News. The Issues of effective front line assessment and the fact that the only safe place people can go to now when they need a medium or long term bed is the prison system, were all canvassed.
The important issue that when people are suicidal, self harming, violent and homicidal they need immediate admission for their safety and the safety of the public. At the moment these people are turned away with the throw away title of Personality Disordered, therefore not mentally ill.
The psychiatric professions are still chanting the 1983 mantra, “The mentally ill are not dangerous”…. “We can’t predict dangerousness”. This is factually incorrect. The hard scientific evidence is that a significant number of severely mentally ill people are neurologically programmed to kill themselves and others. This is why we are demanding that anyone who turns up for assessment anywhere in the system, mental health, general health, criminal justice, social welfare, family court must have a neurological assessment. We thank the Gold Coast Bulletin and Channel Nine for covering issues which frequently media, politicians, administrator’s right down to doctors and nurses avoid discussing.
GoVolunteer for their continual support by way of advertising our two Campaigns on their Websites that are held during the year, Queensland Rugby Union-Qld Reds, Kennard’s Hire-Wayne McJarrow, Clayton UTZ Lawyers, G Bird Qld, P McGovern NSW, City of Unley NSW, Office of the Lord Mayor Brisbane Qld, Quota International of South Brisbane,
Mel Casten Hobart Tasmania, Santa’s Workshop Designs, AFL Carlton Football Club-The Blues Melbourne Vic, AFL North Melbourne Football Club-The Roos Melbourne Vic,
To all members and readers. Our “Guestbook” entries are all true accounts and many leave their email contacts. If you have time please read over entries and by all means correspond.
5 July 2008 South Australia
My father shot himself 16 days ago, aged 63. I am really struggling, and I am so glad this site is available, just to read others’ accounts, and know I’m not alone, it helps a little. Do you ever get past the ‘whys’?
23 July 2008, California USA
After reading some of the peoples stories, it has made me realize at least for now, that I cannot die. If not for myself that at least for my family. I don’t want them to go through the pain I have just read family members go through because of a loved one dying.
25 August 2008, Qld
Hello, I have just found your web site (I cannot actually tell you how I have come across it) BUT I SO WISH I had of found it a few months ago when I was in need, my brother of 40 committed suicide recently and sites like this are zip. I wish your web site provider allows this site to come up when you search depression or suicide survivors help sites cause it doesn’t. The other things that is amazing is that you are not NSW or Vic cause they have the sites not QLD. thank you anyway I guess it is not too late but would of been helpful when I could sit at my computer and search. RT
26 August 2008, Qld
Morning Fanita. Thank you for your lovely thoughts, I really hope I not come across rude when I said that your not out there enough, as I am sure not receiving funds from the government this makes your job and service to others that much harder. I was not being rude at all. I am thankful that I found you and your site, I did not know about the 29th May either I would of attended, and especially for Brisbane which is excellent, you would think this could be helped by our government. Thanks again for your lovely email Regards R T
26 August, 2008 Vic
My partner (age 23) and father of my 2 children suffered from Mental Illness and suicided in March 2007. I just feel that I didn’t know enough about his mental illness, and understand or see the signs. I see them now, but I know more now then I did before about suicide. I just wish I would of known more about his illness. So it is good to see a website dedicated to dealing with mental illness and suicide because my heart still aches and wishes I could of done more for him. I miss him every single day and am blessed to have a part of him in his children. God bless Nicole
9 September 2008, Perth WA
Happy Birthday Shaun 35 today….gone but not forgotten lots of love from your Girls xxxx
29 September 2008, Melbourne Vic
The ups and downs of grief continue, I miss my boyfriend more and more as time goes on and I wish everyday I could hold him one last time. Been having a bad couple of weeks and just want support, it’s so hard to find though. I miss John…your in my heart forever
9 October 2008, Perth WA
3 years ago today you took yourself away, lets see what has changed…The memories haven’t they are still here the hurt hasn’t that is still here.. life has gone on without you… Our Daughter has grown she has turned 3 in August…… Your family still aren’t talking to us…..I still don’t have access to your Estate by the time the lawyers fees are paid thanks to your dear ex wife we will get very little….. Tomorrow I turn 38 whoopee Happy birthday to me….. I hate this day and I hope that each passing year will get easier ….hopefully one day this day will just pass as for each year that I get older I’m reminded of that horrible night when I found you… That memory is instilled forever…… I don’t feel like celebrating your life not today as tomorrow I’m suppose to be celebrating mine and smiling for our family putting on a happy face for everybody to see….. Yes its up to me to make me happy but I’m venting my anger, anger at a selfish act and one that I’m constantly reminded of at this time of the year.
PETER NEAME RESEARCH OFFICER
Re Suicide Watch Daily Mercury 04/09/2008
White Wreath Association – Action Against Suicide support the concerns of Captain John Viles of the Salvation Army Central & Northern Qld, Police, Country Women’s Association, as well as Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander community workers.
Silence on suicide serves the self interest of Government, defensive Mental Health Administrators, Mental Health Clinicians and obsequious Coroners.
Infant mortality is seen as an indicator of a country’s overall health, suicide should be seen as an indicator of a country’s Mental Health. The Mackay area clearly needs an upgraded better staffed mental health service.
Spring time has been recognised for thousands of years to be a period when suicide increases.
Mental Health training and Mental Health Acts have emphasised “Least Restrictive Practices”. This approach is clearly irresponsible and clinically incommpetant when it comes to people who are suicidal, homicidal and seriously violent. There is a desperate need for one standard approach to people who are suicidal throughout Australia. The first step in that approach has to be immediate admission for it is obvious that like any other serious medical condition suicide is life threatening.
We feel Police do a great job but they should not be used as a front line mental health staff which is the current practice throughout Australia.
Peter Neame is Research and Publication Officer for White Wreath Action against Suicide and author of “Suicide and Mental Health in Australia and New Zealand”.
DAILY MERCURY MACKAY
September 04, 2008
Sarah Crawford and Chantelle Bollard
POLICE and community groups are working together to protect a vulnerable group of street kids after their friend, a boy, 16, hanged himself in an abandoned house on Alfred Street. The traumatised youths are now sleeping at the Youth Information Referral Service (YIRS), Victoria Street, to ensure no other member of the group harms themselves. The death of the youth last Wednesday morning was followed by three more suicides in the Mackay region and has prompted calls for a heightened awareness of the issue.
Salvation Army Central and North Queensland Captain John Viles said suicide was a silent thief and that it was time to talk about it openly.
He said suicide traditionally was not spoken about, particularly in the media, because there were concerns reports would trigger copycats.
But the growing loss of life was showing that the issue of suicide needed to be highlighted, he said. On Saturday night a 15-year-old boy was run over by a train on the main rail line to Mackay harbour. His death is a suspected suicide case. That same evening a man, 39, was found dead at a property in the Pioneer Valley.
On Monday night an 18-year-old man hanged himself near the Country Women’s Association hall on Palmer Street, North Mackay. The Daily Mercury understands the deaths of the 18 and 15 year-olds are connected. Yesterday another young male associated with those two youths attempted suicide and is now being monitored. However, the deaths of the 16-year-old in the abandoned building on Alfred Street, and the suicide in the Pioneer Valley are believed to be isolated incidents.
A source has told the Daily Mercury that after the first suicide on Wednesday a crisis meeting was held between police, Department of Community Services, Youth Justice and YIRS as well as indigenous and Torres Strait Islander community workers.
The aim was to protect the young man’s street friends, some of whom were in the house when he committed suicide. It was decided that YIRS would be opened 24-hours a day for a couple of weeks. About a dozen beds that were used in the disaster recovery centres after the February flood have been donated for the street kids.
The Daily Mercury source connected with the initiative said YIRS provided a “safe” environment where the youths, many of whom sniff paint, can grieve.
“We don’t want more people hurting themselves; YIRS is a place for people to come, somewhere to be in a safe environment, where they can receive counselling if they want to.” Capt Viles said figures showed close to 1800 Australians died each year through suicide, and although these statistics were tragic, it by no means gave a true indication of how far-reaching the tragedy was. To address the problem the Salvos will today launch a national telephone service called Hope Line for grieving families.
He said it was vital suicide prevention became everybody’s business because suicide was a major problem that was not going away.
The funeral for the 16-year-old will be held tomorrow.
It is believed YIRS will continue to monitor the group of street youths for another week.
Belinda’s Journal Continued
Have moved location once again but for a much nicer reason this time. My psychiatrist Dr M has ceased my anti-psychotic Mx so I’ve moved in to Jasmine (looney-bin) ward for observation in case the voices come back. Still no sign of them though. Got my own TV (yeah!) I forgot to mention the other day how great my over-night leave was. There was one hitch though, Steve failed to show up to the wedding on Sunday, like I half expected him to. I went around to see him on Sunday night after giving him a half hr. lecture on the phone on Saturday night. I also went on a bit about continually letting me down. I guess I shouldn’t expect too much from a junkie. I used to let people down all the time. I didn’t get too angry at him but I guess I did king of act a bit high and mighty about the matter. Oh well, can’t be perfect right? Anyway, went over to see him after the reception and had a rather lovely night. I knew it was hard for him not to use that night but I spent a lot of time building his ego and trying to strengthen him a bit to want to go clean. Lead by example they say so I tried to explain to him my giant leap into “real” life and how great it was. He still thinks he can go clean on his own though I guess he’s got to hit his own rock bottom before he admits the truth to himself. Maybe it’s not enough for him to have just witnessed me hitting mine. I got through the night however without picking up which was a pretty good achievement although I know that if I had suggested it Steve would have said “no” and probably lost a bit of respect for me so it wasn’t really hard. Due to his continued drug use I feel as though I have to pull away from him a bit. I want to be there to support him in his struggle but I don’t want to be dragged back down to where I’ve already been so many times.
Monday morning saw me hading over to see Dave, aka “Disco Dave”, and this was where the real challenge lay for me. I arrived @ he told me that there was “gear” everywhere. He wasn’t wrong. There were needles all over the place @ visible bags of speed within reach. I kept telling myself that all I had to do was get through the next hour without using @ I would be ok @ this seemed to help although I did get a few overwhelming pangs deep in my chest of wanting to just grab one of those needles @ bags @ mixing up, but I resisted the urge for the very 1st time in my life. I tried to just put it out of my mind at the time, telling myself that I had come too far to fuck it up now. Dave spent the whole hour like a little bower bird searching through his insurmountable little stash spots for $400 that he had “lost” or “maybe stashed” somewhere the previous night. He didn’t find it. For the first time ever I started to feel real sorrow for this person I used to want to be like. I realised that his life was not all it was cracked up to be. This also strengthened my resolve not to use. Heading home along the freeway I started to think about how well I had done to not pick up. I smiled to myself and felt like I was in my own little telemovie with the radio blaring and me smiling like a dork. I got this amazing endorphin/adrenaline rush at that precise moment which was like I had been touched by God. When I explained the event to Graham, my acupuncturist, he made this analogy and I agreed that that was exactly what it was like. to be continued…..
TO BE CONTINUED……
WHITE WREATH ASSOCIATION SAFEHAVEN CENTRE/S
The closure of mental health beds, staff shortages and the lack of on-going treatment have meant that community, family and care givers are required to deal with the mentally ill and suicidal persons. We believe that suicide/mental illness is a life threatening condition and is the only illness in society where people are routinely refused hospital admission or treated on a short-term basis. Hence the need for our Safehaven Centres. The White Wreath Association Ltd (WWA) is committed to bridging the gap between the suicidal/mentally ill, their family/care givers and their treatment which will be accomplished through our Safehaven Centres
What will the Safehavens look like?
Our ultimate aim is to establish a number of these Centres throughout Australia, our programs will be designed to actively treat the underlying illness that leads to mental illness/suicidal behaviour with follow up treatment once the patient is deemed ‘in recovery’. Safehavens will be staffed with appropriate clinical personnel and provide a place of safety to the suicidal/mentally ill and their families/carer’s.
Our Safehaven/s will offer programs for the entire family structure affected by the illness which may include but not be limited to:
- Full 90 day treatment inpatient program
- 30 – 60 day inpatient program (including follow-up treatment)
- 8 week outpatient program (including follow-up treatment) this program will allow patients to continue to reside at home and work in the local community while they are being treated
- 2-3 day outpatient assessment with recommendations and treatment advice
- 3 – 5 day program (all family members/carer’s) offering information and education about suicide/mental illness and to assist family in identifying issues they may have.
- 2 day children program (ages 3-12) This is for children who have family members that are suicidal/mentally ill and will offer ways for children to positively cope with the challenges they face, it will include information about suicide/mental illness through age appropriate activities
- (Families to be included and involved in all aspects of patient treatment/care)
Rehabilitation/news skills programs
Rehabilitation programs will be set up where patients can learn new skills which will be staffed by qualified teachers. These may include:
- Computer skills
- Front Office and reception
New skills programs will be optional should the patient wish to participate once they have met certain criteria through their treatment.
- Alternative therapies
- Tai Chi
These are again optional for patients to participate in.
Why our own centres?
We have identified since our inception that front line assessment is breaking down.
Serious suicidal/mentally ill people are being refused admission, poorly assessed and discharged inappropriately. People who are at risk to themselves and/or a risk to others need immediate admission.
Our Safehaven/s will encompass our own designed programs and assessments which include a full psychological/neurological examination not just a mental health assessment. Our Safehaven/s will be there to treat both patients on an on-going basis as well as providing the support network the family/carer’s require.
Many suicidal/mentally ill persons are very ambivalent about what is said when being assessed. The programs will be designed to include a family member/care giver in the patient’s treatment. Our own research indicates that when suicidal/mentally ill patients are being assessed they do not necessarily give full or reliable information.
Our programs and assessments will be utilised to ensure our medical staff are capturing all the information needed to treat the patient effectively.
The information provided is only a guide of what the WWA Safehaven/s will encompass. Our ultimate aim is to have a number of fully staffed Safehavens throughout Australia. However to achieve this huge project we not only need the funds but the support of the community to establish these Centres.
Sock-it-to-Suicide has given us the opportunity to promote our organisation, our aims and what we stand for “Action Against Suicide’. With this we hope to bring about a change in the treatment of the suicidal/mentally ill.
WHITE WREATH ASSOCIATION SAFEHAVENS ARE UNDERWAY WE HAVE PROPOSED THE BELOW MANY TIMES FEDERALLY AND AT ALL STATE LEVELS THROUGHOUT AUSTRALIA:-
Education and Advice, Consultancy and Practical Information to Professionals and Others working at the front line
The breakdown as we see it is that families/loved ones/carers do in fact identify risk of suicide early. In our opinion between 60-80% of people who are at risk of suicide have been identified as being at risk by parents/loved ones/carers.
This is where we would seek to make a change and this is where reduction in suicide can be achieved.
There are many strategies that can be used but the most important thing is that when risk is identified it must be taken seriously. This typically means the individual at risk would be actively followed up and our preference would be actual admission and assessment in hospital.
Threat of suicide is a threat to life.
We would hope that larger organisations such as hospitals (both public and private), universities, teaching and training facilities would include our group as a basic part of their curriculum in teaching and training of suicide prevention. This has obvious cost implications which would need to be negotiated with each organisation. It is vitally important for people affected by suicide to be involved and have an input into the training of all those who seek to give help. This needs to be recognised at Federal and State levels.
There is currently a large gap between what professionals are taught and what really happens. Just by improving this area would increase public appreciation/understanding of suicide/mental illness.
DONATIONS TAX DEDUCTIBLE
Stamps, Copy Paper, DL Envelopes, Volunteers Aust/Wide
OR YOU MAY LIKE TO DONATE
- Via our credit card facility posted on our Website www.whitewreath.com then follow the instructions.
- Directly/Direct Transfer into any Westpac Bank
Account Name: White Wreath Association Ltd
BSB No: 034-109
Account No: 210509
- Cheque/Money Order to White Wreath Association Ltd
PO Box 1078 , Browns Plains Qld 4118
WE ARE NOW TAX DEDUCTIBLE
The White Wreath Association, have been given permission by Cameron’s sister to publish his diaries.
Wednesday May 17
Just waiting for Bernie! Got mail from solicitor. Made appointment for Monday! I hope it goes alright!
Thursday May 18
Went to probo’s. Spoke to Mal. I can’t remember which day. He said he is going to Townsville and said he will come up here and visit. He said he can get me a start in the mines!
Went to Bro Kelly’s. Cleaned ceiling in spare room and fixed some of driveway. Had a panic attack and talked it out with Bro Kelly. Thank God! Went back to 1 tablet instead of 2 because of weight problem.
Saturday May 20
Went to see Da Vince code with mum. Spoke to Jake about the kids.
Sunday May 21
Tried to get in touch with Mitchell. Fucken frustrating. I’ve got to stop thinking about Jaki! The slut! All negative! I can’t go back there! Not after what she put me through! I got to think positive! I know what that situation is all about! I’ve come too far to let her start getting to me! Be positive!
Monday May 22
Went to solicitors! Everything went good! I’m at Bro Kelly’s looking after his dog! He was missing when I got there but he turned up a bit later! A lot happened at the solicitor’s. That was good. Still a lot to sort out! I’ve got to get organized with Mal ASAP! I also text Mitchell and said sorry out last night’s messages.
Thursday May 25
Went to town did the usual. Probo’s and shopping! Tried for learner’s again. No good.
Friday May 26
Tried to get learner’s to no avail! Went to Townsville to get Mitchell and got my learner’s there! They put the wrong address on it! Went to court. Got remanded for 1 month. 26/6/06. Got Mitchell, had fish and chips for tea! Gave Adri $35 and $35 for Mitchell’s soccer! Stayed up and watched TV for a while! Spoke to Mal. He said he will be up next Wed or Thurs.
Saturday May 27
Went fishing with Bro Kelly in his boat. Caught 32 fish. 28 brim 4 grunter. Mitchell and Bro Kelly caught the most. We went from about 7.30-8am – 12pm. Then went home and rested. We both fell asleep! Spoke to Shona yesterday or today I can’t remember.
Sunday May 28
Went to Bro Kelly’s. Cleaned up boat and filleted fish! Also went for a long ride on 4 wheeler! Mitchell enjoyed it. Mitchell did some homework with mum! We met Jaki and Adri at Frost Mango at 4pm. Came home. I went down the beach. Early night. I Spoke to Jaki about GE Finance and child support! She reckons she will pay but I don’t believe her. I don’t want the kids to go without because of all of it!
TO BE CONTINUED…….
29 MAY 2009
WHITE WREATH DAY – IN REMEMBRANCE OF ALL VICTIMS OF SUICIDE
IF YOU ARE ABLE TO ORGANISE A GATHERING WITHIN YOUR LOCAL AREA PLEASE CONTACT HEAD OFFICE
I wrote to you a while ago enquiring about getting involved in the letterbox distributions within my local area. I wrote to my local MP Maxine McKew to ask for aid with photocopying and I received an email back saying that they don’t have the time to provide us with that support due to electorate work. I have to say that I am quite annoyed at my local government as they are all for ‘supporting the community’ and ‘making a difference’. Therefore I am going to photocopy the pamphlets myself and distribute them.
Dear Fanita, thank you for doing such a wonderful job, I looked at White Wreath website and I read how many people felt like me and it is actually fine to feel depression and it does go away and life goes on. I tried to commit suicide 11 years ago, I was only 18 years old and I felt so down, lonely and rejected. It is an interesting thought about Romeo and Juliet, we all admire the story but taken out of the context it is very sad and not beautiful at all. I was depressed and very much in love, but the most wonderful thing is when I took the pills trying to kill myself I have discovered my spiritual side. Usually people think when you are unconscious in a hospital you don’t remember anything when you get back, but I heard the Gods voice and saw the light, literally saw it and I understood most profound wisdom, it was like God was teaching me when I was there and showing me the pictures from my life, future and past, I saw how perfect the world is and absolute beauty of creation and life. I understood that pain is a gift given to us so we can find the inner strength to see the light, this is our path in life and we are given the lesson. When we prick the finger on a needle we have the choice of blaming it for the pain or thanking it for the knowledge, it is our attitude to life that can change things and make us feel better and at one with the universe. When I got back I was a different person and my life changed immediately, the depression was gone, and I decided to leave the person who contributed to making me feel so unworthy and depressed and I left the country, came to New Zealand alone (I am from Russia originally), two weeks later I met my future husband and 10 years and two kids later we are absolutely happy together. I am so grateful for this experience, it opened my eyes to the inner wisdom in me.
It has been a long time, but I feel you would not have forgotten me. I am still in the life of helping people, suicidal or survivor of a suicide event.
On Sunday we went to our local tavern and had a meal and drinks with a couple of S… friends. We have done this for 21 years, since S…. N ,our son, left on the 3rd August 1987.
On the 20th anniversary we had quite a few friends, and family, attend as he lived 20 years and would have been 40 that year. For the first time his son, K now 24, was flown to B…., to be there at this special year. I do not know where I would be today if I did not have another son, and we are important in each other’s lives as is my wife. This year I turned 70 y.o. and K devised the greatest surprise party I ever attended. I am still smiling. It was fantastic. He really knows how to set up events like this, friends, relatives ,photos and dvd recollection on big screen, enlarged photo for the wall and caricature of myself. Whaugh…
Anyway I have a person in my group that has special needs.
She witnessed the terrible moment her partner ended his life with the help of a high powered rifle.
With her permission I have written the following——-
D has problems reliving the death of her partner through flashbacks that keep recurring day and night and needs to contact someone that has been through a similar tragedy especially concerning firearms. She has difficulty in coming to terms with the terrible event and knows someone out there must going through the same torment.
If they could be in touch through the phone or some other medium it could offer some relief to the pain and suffering that haunts their lives. D is frightened and keeps seeing in her mind the horror of it all.
Hopefully we can help her with this and preserve her sanity and keep her from actually taking her own life. D will join The White Wreath Association and I will give her a subscription form to forward on to you with her fee. Look forward to hearing from you ,Fanita ,and know you continue to do good works,
P.s. I feel certain you would know of someone that has lost someone in similar circumstances and may have found a coping methology or may be looking for another to share their feelings etc.