A Step Away From the Brink

Date: February 4, 2012 / Posted by control

By Cathy O’Leary, Medical Editor, The West Australian, 4 February 2012 –

Glenn Mitchell is the first to say he is one of the lucky ones.

The former ABC sports broadcaster hovered on the brink, weighing up a move that he now knows would have brought untold trauma to his family, particularly his wife Karen Tighe and their young son James.

It was a stranger who stopped to talk to him on a deserted Hills track that stopped him from taking his life last June. He had battled with depression on and off for five years and losing his job at the ABC had become the tipping point.

“I thought everyone would be better off without me, it seemed so hopeless,” he said.

“But I was lucky because I was saved and now I just want to do what I can to try and prevent another tragedy. We still have a long way to go to destigmatise depression.

“People say to me I was brave and courageous for speaking up, which shows we have a long way to go because no one would say someone was brave for telling people they had leukaemia.”

Mr Mitchell, a speaker with the suicide prevention program One Life, said though some suicides were on the spur of the moment, more often than not there was a history of mental illness, even if it was not always known to family and friends.

“It can happen to anyone, but the message is that suicide doesn’t have to happen.”