Monday, 29 May 2017

So Many Deaths

I didn’t want to write this today.

However to write something else would  have been trivial.

I came across the following scene at lunch time today – in Post Office Square, Brisbane, Australia.

With my fellow ‘luncher’, we noted what was being represented and moved on to have our lunch.

We fleetingly touched upon the display over lunch and on finishing, he suggested we walk through the Square. I said I will look from the perimeter.

The lawn of Post Office Square is laid out with white flower wreaths.

Each wreath represents the death in 2017, that’s 5 months only, of a son, a daughter, a brother or a sister. Each death was by their own hand, suicide.

Today, 29 May, is National White Wreath Day, Remembering all victims of suicide.

There were names with each wreath and ages. He was 32, another was 27, but most were of an age that ended in ‘teen’. I will say that again, of all the wreaths representing a suicide, most died in their teens. Except for one – he was 12.

The visual was shocking by the sheer number, but the detail of each generated a range of feelings, usually described by adjectives that are poor representations of what it must be for their families and friends.

There is better education now about being alert to changes in behaviour of those around us and encouraging us to check in with those we know and love. We have largely de-stigmatised mental health but still, so many lost, so young, so sad.

Most of the education in our communities is about being more vigilant in identifying those that may be at risk, and a good thing too. But can more be done to prevent us getting this far?

Are we past the point of de pressurising our lives? We are so very, very busy, being ever so very, very busy.

Our children are going to school feeling pressured to do well. They are doing after school activities 3, 4 sometimes 5 nights a week; violin, piano, soccer, dance, gymnastics, orchestra, band, cricket, choir, being willed to do well at each and at all.

Parents feel real or perceived pressure to earn the income to support these activities, to go to the right school, have the late model SUV and house where it matters.

In a Family where the decision is for the Father to be the predominant carer, he is held up as the model of the modern man. Where Mum is the predominant carer, she is said to be wasting her education.

No pressure there.

I have no idea what the answer is and cannot pretend to.

I do wonder if we cannot simplify our existence, de clutter the expectations we allow to be thrust upon us, ensure our children feel loved and not just told they are loved.
What would happen if we built environments where our children first and foremost felt valued for who they are, where everyone knew, felt and believed they “matter”?

I didn’t want to write this today, but my lunch colleague said I had to, in case one person read it and it caused a pause, a thought, a change.

The reality is, my comments, my words feel overwhelmingly inadequate.

No comments: