HEARTACHE: Marcus Roberts was just 23 when he took his own life.
HEARTACHE: Marcus Roberts was just 23 when he took his own life. Contributed

Brave mum who lost her son shines light on depression

ANDREE Roberts knows the heartache of losing a child.

Her son Marcus took his own life in 2014.


Marcus' mum Andree said support groups are absolutely vital to raise awareness of suicide and prevention.
Mum Andree, in a photo taken by Marcus, says support groups are vital. Contributed

Now she helps those at risk of suicide.

Ms Roberts is not surprised by alarming new Beyond Blue figures which show the suicide rates for Australian men.

Between July 2015 and June 2016, paramedics attended 30,197 call-outs to men who attempted to take their own lives or thought about it.

Last year Ms Roberts's brother John Morgan established Marcus Mission, a program that teaches men about about resilience and to provide suicide prevention training.

Ms Roberts said the sessions run once a month and were free of charge.

"Being a small town we wanted to be able to provide some support by giving people the knowledge of how to look for signs when people are withdrawing and struggling and having suicidal thoughts and be able to direct them to where they can get the right help," she said.

"They're very activity based programs so it's not like sitting and having someone talk at you."

They're also establishing a MENtor program where like-minded people can be put into contact with each other once a week for one or two hours.

"It's the ability for people to have social engagement, get them moving, going for a run or a coffee," she said.

Ms Roberts has also begun a support group with Uniting Care community.

"Being able to support people in our community gives me so much pleasure," she said.

"The worst thing that could possibly happen to me has happened and I want to be able to be there for people who are going through this, so I've started a support group for people who are bereaved by suicide.

"We're going to meet once a month...we're going to support each other so we don't go downhill after losing someone, it makes me really happy to be be able to sit with people who are going through what I went through because it is really, really tough.

"What we don't want is somebody who has been affected after losing someone to have a ripple effect and unfortunately that does seem to occur."

She said support groups were important in the community.

"Support groups are absolutely vital to connect with people who can guide you through the maze," she said.

"We can teach resilience, it's something we can learn."

Ms Roberts said it was important to highlight all of the services available in Bundaberg.

"There is a real need for people to know where to go in the Bundaberg region," she said.

"It only takes one phone call or one text to make people who have those thoughts think 'I do matter' or 'someone does care'."

If you would like to register for an upcoming workshop visit https://bit.ly/2wCxyex.

If you or anyone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.