Suicide becoming a cultural epidemic

Posted on September 4, 2013

Brendan Cowell is haunted by shadows. His best mate. Friends. Their fathers. All lost to suicide.

"They were friends and then suddenly it was like they were never there," he says of his teenage years growing up in Cronulla. "There was usually two or three a year who died."

One of his closest friends took his life shortly after speaking at his 21st birthday. Others died after making a suicide pact. He estimates he's known at least 10 people who have died that way.

Death became a normal event, only talked about after it happened.

"It wasn't until I escaped it that I went 'whoa, hang on, that's not normal'."

Cowell, a successful actor and writer, is also an ambassador for Suicide Prevention Australia, which this week launched a campaign to halve the number of suicides by 2023.

"There's a level of embarrassment with suicide for those who survive. I spoke to my friends in the lead-up and I didn't see," he says. "It's a cultural epidemic in Australia, and we need to find the voice to at least talk about it".

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Category(s):Suicide Prevention

Source material from Sydney Morning Herald

Mental Health News