LEAN ON ME: Co-founder of LIVIN Sam Webb with Lowood State High School students Dylan Proctor and Emily Lewis.
LEAN ON ME: Co-founder of LIVIN Sam Webb with Lowood State High School students Dylan Proctor and Emily Lewis. Lachlan McIvor

'It was a tipping point for my life': Speaking out about suicide

SAM Webb knows all too well the devastating impact suicide can have on friends, family and the surrounding community.

His close friend Dwayne Lally, so often the life of the party, took his own life in 2013 and pushed him to co-found the charity LIVIN with Casey Lyons in September of that year.

"It was a tipping point for my life," Mr Webb said.

"I was in a pretty dark place myself at the time so I almost thank Dwayne for me being here to be honest.

"Seeing his family, it will never be repaired, that's why we're here and why we do what we do."

The LIVIN co-founder was the headline speaker at 'Talkin' it Up' - the 2017 Regional Youth Mental Health Forum held in Laidley on Thursday.

He was just one representative of the many organisations that came together for the collaborative event, aimed at building resilience and positive mental health for young people.

Mr Webb spoke to nearly 300 students about his own mental health demons and sought to equip them with the skills they may need in their own struggles.

"We're all often told not to speak up and seek help because it's a sign of weakness," he said.

"If we can tweak that way of thinking a little bit we'll be in a better place."

He emphasised the importance of holding the forum in a regional area like the Lockyer Valley and hoped it would have a place for many years to come.

"You can't even put a value on it," he said.

"You get the Sydneys, the Brisbanes, the Melbournes, they've all got a lot of resources... these kids don't have access to them, so it's just amazing to have it here."

Lockyer Valley councillor Michael Hagan, whose portfolio includes youth and community services, was happy with the turn-out.

"It's great to see the kids, the youth themselves involved, that's the big thing," Cr Hagan said.

If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties, help is available. Phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, Mensline on 1300 78 99 78 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.



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