Last night, the usual mudslinging and virtue signalling on ABC panel show Q&A stopped for almost two minutes, as an audience member named Krissi Grant shared her family’s story. As the panel and the audience sat in silence, the grieving Sydney woman humanised an issue that has been described as a crisis and an epidemic.
“I lost my precious brother to suicide in 2015,” she said, through tears, “shattering and changing our lives forever.”
Krissi’s brother, Paul, took his own life at their family home on December 13, 2015, after a two-decade struggle against mental illness. Their mother, who had been his carer throughout, was the one who found him.
“I live in Sutherland Shire of Sydney, down near Cronulla Beach, where is is little to no support for the bereaved and for the [suicidal],” she told the panel.
“I’m fighting with Sutherland Hospital, our local MPs, and pleading with Scott Morrison to do more. I have taken it on myself with some others to start a [community] mental health and suicide prevention action group, because if not me, then who?
“I’m disgusted at the lack of support. I’m disgusted at the lack of facilities, of all the money going to other agendas except for saving our lives. In Australia, suicide now takes eight lives a day, and I just can’t sit back and do nothing. I want to see safe houses. I want to see education and life skills. I want to see more done for the youth. I want to see kindness, respect. And I want us all to love, support and just encourage the mentally ill.