My name is Leith and by day I am the office manager for an amazing team at Rod Johnstone Group and by night I have turned boxing protégé. I am fighting for my son Zander and to raise awareness for Youth Suicide.
In January this year, Zander tried to hang himself. He had just turned 13. I am raising $10,000 to get Zander to specialist support services in Brisbane every month for the next 12 months and also for an operation to fix a throat defect he was born with, which will help him to breathe better, sleep better and help relieve his anxiety.
Suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians and accounts for the deaths of more young people than car accidents. In 2015, suicide was the leading cause of death of children between 5 and 17 years of age.
Awareness is always the first step to change and by participating in FFYC I want to start conversations in our community and engage our community leaders to bridge the gap for support services here in Townsville for critical care/incidents as there is a massive gap for youth in danger of harming themselves and for the families that are so desperately trying to save them. I also call upon our community leaders to help facilitate change in our state and federal government where there is a massive divide between mental health and disability departments and their supports.
It takes a community to raise a child and each of us is a participant, whether knowingly or inadvertently, by the way we interact with youth and our responses to their actions. I am sending a call to arms to our community and Australia as a nation, as eight children and young people commit suicide every week in Australia. Our community is not only losing its future doctors, nurses, policemen and women, teachers and lawyers but WE are losing our Children, brothers, sisters, friends and family. The biggest drivers of suicide, depression and addiction are Fear, Disconnection and Shame and society has created a culture in which these factors are taking the lives of our loved ones. It is up to us as a community to come together and facilitate connection and engagement with those around us through patience, understanding and tolerance.
We as a community need to recognise, respond and create an action plan to save our kids.
I refuse to stand by and let my son be taken. I will not go quietly into the night, I will rage against the dying of the light and this is my call to arms to our community to come together and be the gatekeepers for our children.