NO SHAME: Cr John Arkan says we need to talk about depression and suicide.
NO SHAME: Cr John Arkan says we need to talk about depression and suicide. Trevor Veale

Cr Arkan speaks of the devastating impacts of suicide

COUNCILLOR John Arkan has spoken of the devastating impacts of suicide and the need to bring the issue out into the open.

In the lead up to R U OK day and in light of a recent case, the Coffs Harbour City councillor has spoken out.

"It's amazing how we live in such a lucky country but with all that goodness Australia provides, you wouldn't think you would have this, but it affects lots of people. Depression is rife in the community," Cr Arkan said.

"The young man we lost had all that the world could give - a lovely home, supportive parents, he played sport - so this has put a deep shock through the community."

In the wake of the recent tragedy Cr Arkan worked alongside the community and other agencies to help organise counselling.

"The grief across the whole community was just enormous."

After playing the tabla at Woolgoolga's Sikh temple at the funeral service for the young man he was invited to speak about suicide.

"I am no counsellor, I just spoke about what the counsellors had told me, but it was important to hear the word suicide spoken in the temple," he said.

"I spoke about prevention plans and the fact you can go to your GP and get a mental health plan which allows you to have six free sessions under Medicare ... that there is a way forward. I was able to do this in English and in Punjabi for the elders."

He wanted to stress the point that people should not feel shame when discussing depression and was encouraged by the fact an older woman approached him in the street afterwards to say her son is going through a rough patch.

"It's not a shame thing and we reflected on how we can be really proud and sometimes take that 'snap out of it, you'll be right' approach. You've got to be able to speak about it."

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