Join the walk out of suicide’s shadow
LOOKING back, Tamra Forde doesn’t know how she survived the suicide death of her brother Curtis Finn in June 2009.
Tamra and her family were caught in an intense cycle of grief, regret and guilt for a couple of years after the tragedy.
Even now there’s not a day goes by that she doesn’t think of him.
Curtis, who was raised at Kingscliff, was a talented footballer who had played for the Tweed Seagulls, Bilambil Jets and Currumbin Eagles.
At 19 years of age, the former Tweed River High School student was signed by the Parramatta Eels, but returned home from Sydney because he missed his family.
Curtis had broken up with a girlfriend just before his death. He was attending a church but struggling with his relationship with God. He also had a small debt.
“But these little things always add up to big things when they’re in that state,” Tamra said.
“They feel like there’s a huge weight on their shoulders and they can’t see a way out.”
Curtis was an indigenous man. The overall rate of suicide for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is twice that of non-Indigenous people, according to the 2012 ABS data for the period 2001-2010.
The tragedy had a knock-on effect, with Tamra’s uncle taking his life a year later.
Tamra admits she also had suicidal thoughts.
“You think about what you could have done. Why are you here? You think, ‘I should be with them’.”
But in the end, she couldn’t inflict the same grief she was feeling on her family and friends.
She believes that if people truly understood the devastation they left behind, they probably would not take their own lives.
“They just think if they do it they’re taking their life away, they don’t think other people will miss them or actually have their life torn apart.”
On Thursday Tamra will be participating in the Tweed Heads walk to commemorate World Suicide Prevention Day.
The Out of the Shadows and Into the Light Walk will start at 9.30am at the front of Tweed Hospital and proceed to Jack Evans Boat Harbour.
A low-key ceremony will be conducted at the harbour, including singing and dancing.
Participants are asked to wear yellow clothing as a sign of hope.
The event, sponsored by Lifeline, is being organised by indigenous community worker Shana Lazer and Murwillumbah’s Deidre Currie, who lost her 20-year-old daughter to suicide in 2012.
IF this story has upset you or you need someone to talk to:
Contact Lifeline on 131114 for crisis support.
Young people can find online and telephone support seven days a week from 9am to 1am at headspace. Online - www.headspace.org.au, call 1800 650 890.