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'I am not ashamed of how my husband died. I don't want it to be a secret.'

A doctor’s wife has shared the story of her husband’s suicide to raise awareness about mental health.

The Brisbane gastroenterologist and father-of-four, Dr Andrew Bryant, took his own life last week.

His wife, Susan Bryant, wrote an email to his colleagues because she didn’t want the circumstances of her husband’s death to be a “secret”.

Andrew with daughter Charlotte and wife Susan. Image supplied.

The pair's son, John Bryant, shared his mother's email on Facebook as a "warning to others about the dangers of depression and suicide".

"It cannot be taboo," he said.

Susan explained in the email: "Some of you may not yet know that Andrew took his own life, in his office, on Thursday morning."

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"Andrew had never before suffered from depression. He hadn't been sleeping well since late February; but he was never a great sleeper. He was very busy with work; but had always been busy," she added.

But just before Easter her husband became anxious - "about his private practice, about being behind in his office administration, about his practice finances, about some of his patients, about his competence".

An old photo of Andrew with his kids Alex, John and Charlotte. Image supplied.

"He seemed very dispirited and non-communicative. I did what I could to help where I could, but I was confused - he'd always been busy and the practice, as far as I could tell, was running just as it had for the last 20 years," she said.

The father-of-four had been "flat" all Easter and, the week after that, he was on call for the private hospitals.

"It was on the worst on call week he had ever had - he was called every night and some nights more than 3 or 4 times and during the day he had to see his own patients and do his endoscopy lists. He missed our son Nick's birthday dinner and every other dinner at home that week."

Andrew with brother Mark. Image supplied.
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By the end of the week, her husband was "exhausted", he couldn't sleep properly and was "flat".

"I was very concerned about him, tried to talk to him about my concerns but he was very unresponsive," said Susan.

"I urged him to go and see someone about his sleeping but he was noncommittal. He continued to see patients, do lists, go to work, get home late."

On Tuesday evening the doctor became upset and teary because a patient had died.

"Andrew was always upset when any of his patients died, but his level of distress in this case was unusual," said the Brisbane mother.

"In retrospect, the signs were all there. But I didn't see it coming. He was a doctor; he was surrounded by health professionals every day; both his parents were psychiatrists; two of his brothers are doctors; his sister is a psychiatric nurse - and none of them saw it coming either," she added.

"I don't want it to be a secret that Andrew committed suicide. If more people talked about what leads to suicide, if people didn't talk about as if it was shameful, if people understood how easily and quickly depression can take over, then there might be fewer deaths. His four children and I are not ashamed of how he died."

If you or a loved one is suffering from mental health issues, Mamamia urges you to contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit the Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or on visit their website.

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