DIFFICULT SUBJECT: Joe Daly wants parents to talk to kids about youth suicide. He lost son Connor to suicide last year and is pictured with a baseball glove and ball the pair bought on a trip to the United States.
DIFFICULT SUBJECT: Joe Daly wants parents to talk to kids about youth suicide. He lost son Connor to suicide last year and is pictured with a baseball glove and ball the pair bought on a trip to the United States. Chris Ison Rokcdaly

Talk with your children, says brave dad after son's suicide

JOE Daly believes it's time to start a conversation about youth suicide.

A typically touchy and taboo subject, Joe said it was something parents needed to be open about with their children.

The Capricorn Coast man's comments come after a Sydney school last week informed its students and wider community about the suspected suicide of a girl in Year 8.

Joe told The Morning Bulletin that starting a conversation about youth suicide was a positive step for schools, students and parents.

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Sadly, Joe understands all too well the pain suicide can bring to a family.

His 13-year-old son Connor took his own life last year.

Since then, Joe has been trying to raise awareness about youth suicide and prevent other families from suffering the same heartbreak.

He said raising the topic in schools meant students could become a "watchful eye" for their friends and may notice small changes in behaviour parents could miss.

"Parents are more than happy to... talk about the dangers of going to a party and seeing someone sticking a needle in their arms," Joe said.

"When it comes to depression I think kids are at a much higher risk, but it's such a taboo subject to raise.

"It shouldn't be."

Joe said it was important for parents to realise that children didn't have to be diagnosed with a mental illness like depression to be at risk of suicide.

He said the normal stresses of life, including puberty and the massive change from primary to high school education, could leave children feeling like they had nowhere to go.

In that case, Joe said it was crucial for parents to always keep the lines of communication open and let children know they were able to share anything without judgment or dismissal.

"With communication you can always strip down and solve or at least talk about these problems," Joe said.

"What causes such tragedy like suicide is when the child can't find a way out."

Joe said he feels Connor is with him on every step of his journey to raise awareness about youth suicide.

More than a year on, Joe said he still talks to Connor, keeping him in the here and now.

"We're all heartbroken, but we don't dwell in the past and regret.

"We don't look at the future with anxiety, we just live in the now.

"We love him very much."

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