Kylie Austin is 34 from Brisbane. She lost her 16-year-old daughter Shayla Jayde to suicide in February 2017, after a long battle with mental illness. She attended last year’s Walk For Awareness and found it to be a supportive and fantastic event. Kylie has shared her story to help raise awareness and end the stigma around mental health. She is an advocate for changes in the health and school system to prevent the loss of more loved ones to suicide. This is her story…
“I grew up with my family members having mental health illness and intrusive thoughts of suicidal ideation, it was a hard time for me as I didn’t understand much about it but effectively I had to look after my parents and brothers.
I lost my bright star, 16-year-old daughter Shayla Jayde to mental health and after a long battle she succumbed to her emotions and died by suicide in February 2017. Losing a loved one is a tragedy to have to come to terms with, however knowing she and I were begging for more help makes my story even more heartbreaking.
I found through Facebook, the Walk For Awareness and Mental Awareness Foundation. I attended the Walk for Awareness in 2017 with my friend Jess who is also affected by the loss of her loved family members to suicide. We were supporting each other in this time of sadness and we found it to be a supportive and fantastic event last year.
The Walk For Awareness is so important to raise much needed funds for members of the community with mental health and suicidal ideation. It helps not-for-profit organisations to continue supporting and make impact to real changes within our community. We all need to come together, make change and end stigma.
I know how detrimental the loss of a loved one can be, it’s a domino effect to the family and friends left behind.
I’m driven to advocate and influence change and end stigma. I have ideas for the community’s mental health practises, bullying, and school systems based on Shayla and my experiences.
I honestly went to the hospital on several occasions and begged for more help. More could have been done but no one wanted to help Shayla and I. The hospital didn’t even give me support or information for any other community services to seek help. Shayla passed soon after returning from hospital after her third attempt. They didn’t admit her on the first two attempts.
I feel the health system let Shayla and I down, they should have done more. There was no support, and no information or resources to help Shayla and I. When I went back and spoke to them after Shayla had passed, their response didn’t sit well with me. The onus shouldn’t be put on Shayla and I needing the help, it should have been themselves as they are the government. I know what help is out there now, after resourcing it for myself. At that time, I was dealing with too much to find it. Thankfully there are now processes being talked about and their trying to implement them at that hospitals, but sufficient programs should be in every hospital and school around the country.
I still must cope with my own serious conditions but in honour of my family and beloved daughter my energy and purpose are now to advocate on raising awareness, resources, information and funding to sustain the community and their organisation.
I now volunteer for the Redlands Suicide Prevention Network, and the Redlands Suicide Bereavement Support Group, among others.
I have full praise for Redlands Suicide Prevention Network which is developing the suicide prevention vision, mission and strategic plans for the Redlands city in alignment with national frameworks and Queensland Suicide Prevention Action Plan 2015 -2017.
At this year’s Walk For Awareness, the ‘Redlands Suicide Bereavement Group – a place to come together affected by or from suicide’ and ‘Standby – Support after Suicide program’ will be present.
I would like to share another photos of my late daughter and an affirmation to inspire anyone suffering or going through a hard time in their lives.
Shayla Jayde Austin 14/12/2000 – 28/02/2017