Moyne Shire Youth Council initiative encourages teens to ask for help

Proactive: Emily Duncan and Mitch Hughan have produced brochures to raise awareness about the impact of suicide. Picture: Morgan Hancock.
Proactive: Emily Duncan and Mitch Hughan have produced brochures to raise awareness about the impact of suicide. Picture: Morgan Hancock.

Moyne Shire Youth Council members hope to make a difference to the region’s suicide rates.

They have produced brochures telling the stories of locals who’ve had their own mental health battles and lost loved ones to suicide. 

The students began the project 12 months ago after witnessing the devastating pain and guilt experienced by friends following youth suicides.

The brochures share the experience of Simon Angel who lost his brother Paul, and Tayla Rentsch whose brother Brett took his own life. They talk about the impact their siblings’ deaths had and encourage others to seek help.

The youth councilors want to promote discussions about mental health and have partnered with community suicide prevention initiative Let’s Talk to produce them. 

The brochures will be launched at Hawkesdale P-12 School on Wednesday with a Q&A session, followed by Warrnambool secondary schools in coming weeks.

Youth councillor Emily Duncan, 17, said the thing that stayed with her was how vulnerable the interviewees were and the enormity of their own mental health battles.

Youth councillor Mitch Hughan, 17, said he was surprised subjects knew so many people who had suicided. “I hope that it ultimately reduces the number of young people taking their lives and for them to know that they can talk about those feelings,” he said. 

If you or someone you know needs help contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.