For too long the tragedy that is suicide has been swept under the carpet.
Loved ones were left to cope with not only the
never-ending heartbreak but also the terrible stigma unfairly associated with it.
Even the media, which normally prides itself on revealing political scandals and the like, was ham-strung by rules and regulations governing its reporting.
But things are changing, albeit slowly.
People such as Jeanette Bath of Weston, the mother of teenager Miles Liddell who took his life in April 2010, are speaking out in the hope that no one else will ever have to share her pain.
And the media is now taking its rightful place in the campaign to save lives, not unnecessarily dwelling on the circumstances of the death but rather focusing on the
support that is at hand.
The number of people who take their life each year is astonishingly high – anecdotal evidence is that there have been as many as 17 suicides in three years in the small community of Branxton alone.
Suicide can touch the lives of people from all walks of life; men and women, the young and the elderly, the
affluent and the poor, the educated and the school
drop-outs, and, the physically fit and the ill and infirm.
It is a tragedy that always has, and unfortunately always will be a part of the society in which we live.
But an increasing number of people such as Mrs Bath are coming forward with an important message.
Help is available for those whose lives are filled with unbearable despair.
Help is also on hand for the those who are left behind. They, afterall, are the survivors.
The vast majority of people cannot have any
comprehension of the personal and national tragedy.
But we can all offer our support to Mrs Bath who has shown amazing courage and to the work of organisations such as the Cessnock Survivors of Suicide Support Group.
We owe that much to Miles.