World Suicide Prevention Day 2014 in Mandurah

KYM Woolcott believes every day should be suicide prevention day.

After her brother committed suicide in 2012, aged 22, the Mandurah woman has been a fierce advocate for more local mental health services.

At no time is her campaign more relevant than World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), which takes place on Wednesday.

“I know a lot of people suffering from depression and a lot have tried to end their lives,” she said.

“I think not enough awareness is raised, but this day is amazing for that.

“Every day should be suicide prevention day.”

Ms Woolcott said a distinctive feature of WSPD was to write ‘love’ on the wrist, to trigger conversation about mental health and suicide.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44 and for women under the age of 34, according to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).

Both Ms Woolcott and local woman Natalie Warn are planning to fundraise for the Peel Youth Medical Service (PYMS). 

Run by GP down south and based at the Billy Dower centre, PYMS offers a range of free health services for local people age 12-25, including mental health services.  

GP down south program manager Denise Puddick said about 38 per cent of young people using the service presented with mental health issues.

Former AFL star and PYMS advocate Heath Black, who has suffered from depression, said WSPD was one of the most important days of the year. 

“The severe end of ill mental health is suicide, and what we have to do is open up communication channels and upskill communities like Peel so they know what to look for in their loved ones,” he said.

“In schools they’re prepared to say the ‘s’ word for a change, and that’s humbling.

“It gives me hope that in the next 10 years we’ll be having a very different conversation about suicide.”

For crisis support call Lifeline on 13 11 14.