Palmers Island resident John Causley with a photo of his sister Jenny who passed away a few years ago. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
Palmers Island resident John Causley with a photo of his sister Jenny who passed away a few years ago. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner Debrah Novak

Coping when suicide hits so close to home is no easy feat

THREE years ago John Causley lost his sister Jenny to suicide.

For John losing her was one of the toughest heartaches life has thrown at him.

But he said despite how tough it gets, there is always someone who is doing it just as hard. And we, as humans, owe it to them to help them through these times.

33 suicides in four years in the Clarence Valley

"Everyone has tough times," he said. "It is a matter of being aware of your emotions and your feelings at the time. Knowing that the next day you could feel completely different.

"Keep plugging away and keep at it. Things don't just happen overnight things don't just happen in a day. But one day just know it will be your day.

"We need to be telling these people that. Letting them know."

John lost his sister Jenny after life became too difficult for her to cope with. Despite her being very intelligent, top of her class and "successful in everything she did" a series of sad events saw Jenny's life spiral out of her control.

"My sister and I were very close. She was a civil engineer and I was always proud of her in everything she did," he said. "She was so very successful in what she did.

"People with high intelligence put higher expectations on themselves. For my sister she was never a quitter and always a champion. You just wouldn't have picked it.

"There were a series of things in her life that just went boom, boom, boom. Like dominoes falling. It just became too much for her to cope with."

The emotional pain of losing family members and friends to suicide is one of the biggest struggles people face. But there are support services and support groups to help people in similar situations.

"I'm at ease now. The first year was the tough one. But things do get better. It's like losing the colour on the TV, it might be gone for a while but the colour does come back eventually."

"For me, initially I found talking to people who had been through similar to what I was dealing with really helped a lot with dealing with my grief.

"If you don't take anything for granted it helps as well, you aren't here for a long time. You need to be able to live your life with what you control."

John visits the Maclean Suicide Bereavement Support Group which is voluntarily run to help people who are dealing with the loss of a loved one to suicide. John said the group was a major help in his grieving process and now attends sessions to support others.

"The bereavement group in Maclean do a great job," he said. "Barbara and Julie put their absolute hearts into it.

"I would suggest going to those groups because the people are in the same boat and will know how you're feeling. It is a place where you can talk about your loved ones openly and what you're going through."

To get in touch with the Maclean Yamba Suicide Bereavement Support group, phone Julie on 66458232 or Barb on 66451400.



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