‘Why does it take my son dying for me to be listened to?’

A QUEENSLAND mother has created a heartbreaking video imploring Australian politicians to do more to help combat teen suicide.

The 10 minute-long open letter 'Taken by suicide' tells the stories of 12 grieving mothers and the child they lost to suicide in the past two years.

The pain in the mothers' voices is still evident as they ask for more to be done to ensure other parents do not experience their heartache.

Josh with Kitty in 2011. His mother Ursula Wharton has created a heartbreaking video imploring Australian politicians to do more to help combat teen suicide.
Josh with Kitty in 2011. His mother Ursula Wharton has created a heartbreaking video imploring Australian politicians to do more to help combat teen suicide.

In 2017, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows suicide was the leading cause of death among people aged between 15 and 44 with 3128 people dying across the country.

Ursula Wharton, lost her 17-year-old son Josh in late 2017 to suicide. It's a grief she will always carry, but she said she was determined to fight to save other kids.

"He had a good heart," she said of her son.

"He was a beautiful boy. He had a lot to give, a lot of talent. He was my son.

"Josh was the one who was there for others, so when he went it caused this huge tsunami affect within his circle."

Ms Wharton said she had been fighting for change in the teen mental health space since before Josh died, with the video showing how suicide affects those left behind.

"Why does it take my son dying for me to be listened to? I still don't feel heard, we fought for so long in the lead up to his death for help.

"I know what went wrong and others who have been through it know.

Josh, his mum Urusla and his younger sister Zoe.
Josh, his mum Urusla and his younger sister Zoe.


"We have this intimate knowledge of what goes on, that these mental health and medical professionals don't see.

"When I asked other mums if they would be interested in doing something a lot of people were in.

"We have a piece of the puzzle, if they started listening to us and accepting what we say as needs, because people are saying the same thing over and over again, they'd be able to make a lot of affective changes in a small amount of time."

Josh in 2010.
Josh in 2010.

She said there needed to be a shake up in the industry.

"The ultimate goal is to save other children's lives. It's a complex issue and a lot of things need to happen.

"A lot of people can't afford to get the help they need - money shouldn't be a barrier.

"There is also the missing middle. Headspace is great for what it is, really a drop-in centre for early intervention … we definitely have this huge gap in the middle where there are people with intermediate and complex needs that aren't critical, but are certainly far from being able to wait until next week."

Ms Wharton said she hoped that out of this video the Government would take note and be more proactive in helping teens with mental health issues.

"We are lacking proactive care for children who cannot or aren't capable of reaching out by themselves.

"One of the problems with a lot of mental health services is, if someone is disengaged, they just say, 'if you don't engage, we can't engage', instead of pursuing the person to help them. There are so many of these kids."

If you or someone you know needs help, phone Lifeline on 131 114.

Josh's little sister at his memorial site.
Josh's little sister at his memorial site.

 



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