This Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas for the Powell family.
Emma Powell, 16, in Grafton, NSW went missing on December 19. She had been battling depression for four years. The night before, her parents had taken her to hospital because their daughter had “a turn”. She was sent home and told by the hospital that a mental health worker would call the following day.
The following day came and, after filling out the uniform order forms for her new job at McDonalds, Emma left the house in the family’s 4WD with the dog, Indie. Her body was found four days later.
“We were working out whether she needed a size 10 or 12 uniform,” Emma’s mother, Shannon Powell wrote for the Daily Telegraph.
“All I can say is that she must have been in a terrible place when she left. She was so happy and joyful, but when she was down she was all consumed.”
The Powell family is not the only family hurting this holiday season. Far, far from it.
2016 showed us the true damage of depression and mental heath issues in Australia.
In 2016, we learned the suicide rate in Australia is the highest it's been in 10 years. The Causes of Death report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed 3,027 people died from self-harm in 2015. That's more than eight people every day. One person every three hours.
We learned suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44, and that Indigenous Australians are four times more likely to die by suicide than non-indigenous Australians.
We learned the suicide rate for young Aboriginal men is the highest in the world.