Suicide is nation's number one killer of people aged 15-34
THIS is a personal story that goes far beyond a Facebook post and deep into the number one killer of people aged 15-34.
Kerrie Atherton is an alcohol and drug abuse counsellor with a message for anyone struggling: "Please hang on, happiness is on the way."
Recently Mrs Atherton has seen two young lives taken too soon.
At 18 this was the path Kerrie herself could have gone down. At 16 she was at AA meetings and by 18 she was addicted to pills.
She described suicide as a permanent "fix" to a temporary problem.
Mrs Atherton took to Facebook to encourage others feeling low to get help.
"When I was 18, I planned my suicide. At that moment, a loud voice said 'Don't do it - if you hang on a bit longer you will find happiness one day'," Mrs Atherton wrote.
"I listened, I didn't, and I have. I have found so much happiness.
"When I used to walk down the street in the midst of the darkest depression I would see people walking together, talking and smiling.
"That was all I wanted. Was to feel that joy that I saw on the faces of so many people, yet deep down I was trapped. My soul was in darkness."
On one occasion she did attempt to end her life. This, she said, was a cry for help.
According to Beyond Blue, for the first time in Australian history the number of people to take their own lives in one year has exceeded 3000.
Kerrie believes that early intervention is the key and she has helped young people get through the toughest times of their lives.
"Every one person has someone out there who will miss them when they're gone," Mrs Atherton said.
It has been 34 years since Mrs Atherton hit rock bottom and she's using her story to inspire others that there is hope and a reason to live.
Anyone in need of help can contact Kerrie Atherton at Empower Life Solutions by emailing Kerrie@inspireconnect.com.au.
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