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Suicide can be prevented: VHA conference told

Posted 06 October 2017

First Graeme Holdsworh lost his job. Next he lost his family. Then he nearly lost his life, by his own hand.

“Thankfully I was saved,” the former architect and Beyond Blue ambassador told today’s VHA Annual Conference Humanity in health at the MCG.

“I was known as Graeme Holdsworth Project Director. Then I became plain Graeme Holdsworth. No wife, no kids, no job. I lost my identity.”

He attributes his survival to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and making better choices.

“I found that I wasn’t alone – I had myself. It changed and saved my life. I now try to pursue things I value, like helping people.

“For every painful experience, it really is an opportunity to learn. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but as a result I do live a more meaningful life.

“Suicide is complex and every story is different but suicide can be prevented.

“It takes a lot of time and patience, it’s not a straight line.”

People should be encouraged to speak up, he says.

“We need to have conversations about mental health. Simply ask ‘Are you OK’?

“I’m sharing my story. And I will never stop. I learnt to take care of myself. I learnt to not beat myself up too much when things don’t work out.”

Anyone experiencing difficulties contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224636.

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