Between 2015-2019 suicide claimed 67 Burnett lives. Photo/File
Between 2015-2019 suicide claimed 67 Burnett lives. Photo/File

OPINION: Why we need to talk about mental health

SPEAKING to a mother who has lost her baby boy to a failed mental health system sends a shiver down your spine, you can hear the pain and heartbreak in her voice.

The voices of her young daughters who miss their big brother but don't understand where he went are heartbreaking.

At age 12, Tyson Christensen tragically took his own life, leaving behind a devastated family, who 16 months on is still coming to terms with their loss.

Over the past year working as a journalist at the South Burnett Times I personally have reported on two suicides and my team have reported on a handful more - these are just the known ones.

It has become arguably the biggest issue in our region claiming 67 lives between 2015-2019 and lives as young as 12.

The Burnett region has the highest rate of suicide in Queensland and clearly not enough is being done in the mental health department.

Although it is becoming more discussed and normalised, there is still a significant negative stigma surrounding mental health.

Over the next week the Times will be releasing a story a day on the topic of mental heath and suicide, talking with experts in the field to break down what the region needs to combat these shocking statistics.

I will be speaking with mental health experts, professors, families, senior police officers, CTC workers and Indigenous leaders to discuss what they think can be done to save Burnett lives.

With Burnett at the epicentre of a mental health crisis, it's going to take families coming together, friends showing support, leaders taking bipartisanship steps and the community rallying together to get the region what it so desperately needs - more funding and more facilities.

Our leaders can't their heads in the sand if they want to help people stop taking their own lives.

The Wondai mum and her six daughters will reel for the rest of their lives over the loss of Tyson and are just one example of a family left to pick up the pieces of a broken mental health system.

If this story has raised any issues for you, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or The Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

South Burnett

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