Eight people die by suicide every day in Australia. That number is expected to increase by up to 25 per cent following the unprecedented global COVID-19 pandemic according to the Mind and Brain Centre, University of Sydney.

One in five Australians has a diagnosed mental health issue and more people aged between 15-44 years are dying from suicide than any other cause.

It happens to families all over Australia and all over the world. Just like Debbie’s family.

Two years ago, her daughter Maddy took her own life.

A beautiful young woman, an exciting teaching career ahead. A family that loved her. Now Maddy is gone.

In fact, when Maddy died, suicide was the leading cause of death for young Australians.

“This cannot happen again. It is not acceptable. I never want another family to feel what we’ve felt,” her mother Debbie said.

“To go through the intense horror of losing a beloved daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin and friend in this way, is the cruellest thing. It is such a waste.

“I am very passionate about supporting mental health research. I do not want suicide to have the devastating effect on others that it had on my family. I don’t want mental illness to cause pain to anyone else.”

Debbie is sharing her story in a bid to help raise awareness around suicide and create a lasting legacy for her daughter.

Breakthrough Executive Director John Mannion said mind and brain research is the only way to know what action needs to be taken to create a life free from mental illness.

“Research will bring us closer to answering many of the unknowns to help transform the lives of those affected by mental health issues.”

“That’s why the statistics are so alarming. Particularly with access to social media and the content circulating across Facebook and TikTok as reported this week.

“I am so grateful to Debbie and her family for sharing such a difficult story. By talking about her daughter Maddy in such a personal way shows great strength. It shows an innate desire to help those affected by mental illness.

“Debbie’s experience demonstrates that mental illness does not discriminate. Directly or indirectly, it touches us all.”

This World Suicide Prevention Day, Thursday 10 September, reach out to someone, ask how they are, be the connection they might need.