My son was 25 years old when he suicided.

I could not receive proper confirmation of how my son suicided but only hearsay that my son consumed a packet of tranquillisers, went into the bathroom with a bottle of LPG gas, blocked off all windows and door with a towel and turned on the gas.

My family and I spent much time coming to grips with the enormity of what had happened with lack of care and treatment.

As time went by I found myself more and more angry. The general indifference of the system, the apparent uncaring of society and the lack of any help before my son suicided and afterwards.

We were well aware that our son was at risk of taking his own life and over the years he had tried to seek help. None was effectively available except the usual ‘ere, take these pills, try to relax, see you in 4 weeks’ scenario.

I wanted to help the doctors and psychiatrist with my knowledge of my son’s background and to help with any treatment that they may have offered my son. Because of the confidentiality law I was excluded and never contacted by doctors or psychiatrists of my son’s condition even though the medical profession knew my son was suicidal.

I feel betrayed by the medical profession because they are supposed to have the patient’s best interest at heart.

Till this day, anyone or any organisation for help has never contacted me. We have been left totally on our own to cope the best we can. No one seems to care or understand. I’m sure that if my son had died in a public forum, perhaps made the news, we would have been inundated with grief counsellors, offers of help etc.

For our family left behind the hurt is no less traumatic than had we been a ‘Port Arthur’ victim. Yet society’s response in helping the surviving families is vastly different.

My son’s suicide is no less a tragedy to me and I believe was as much a victim to the ills of our society as were the victims of the ‘Port Arthur ‘ massacre. But they at least, rightfully, received a great deal of help and perhaps some comfort in society’s response and support.

Only with caring, compassion, and the facilities to take care of our children can we hope to fight this epidemic of despair.