Story and photo from www.maitlandmercury.com.au
Rose Hodges should be basking in the glow of her daughter’s 21st birthday.
But Mrs Hodges did not celebrate the day Jaye turned 21. Instead she imagined what could, and should, have been.
Jaye committed suicide at her Raworth home on September 24, 2008, following a long and relentless battle with depression. She was 19.
Sixteen months after Jaye’s death, Mrs Hodges has established a suicide support group to help others living with such a complicated grief.
“This group is all about supporting one another,” Mrs Hodges said.
“I’ve been attending a suicide support group in Newcastle for a while now and it has been a wonderful help to me. It’s been good to be able to see how people are coping. Jaye would have been 21 last month and I had someone I could talk to about that.”
Mrs Hodges and husband Keith spoke out about their daughter’s death in a special Maitland Mercury report last December. The couple chose to tell their story to celebrate Jaye’s life while also acknowledging her tragic death.
“I wanted to set up a support group in Maitland to let others know that it’s okay to feel the way you feel when someone close to you takes their own life,” Mrs Hodges said.
“This is nothing to hide behind and the more we talk about it the more help we can get.”
Suicide is a prominent public health concern in Australia. According to the Australian Government’s Mindframe National Media Initiative, 1900 people have died by suicide during the past decade.
“We’ll never, ever forget our children. I think of Jaye every day and I know that won’t change, but I also know things won’t always be so hard,” Mrs Hodges said.
Australia has a wide variety of support networks for people coping with the effects of suicide. For assistance, please contact.
Anglicare, Living Beyond Suicide: 1300 76 11 93
Salvation Army, Hope Line and the Bereaved By Suicide Support Program: 1300 467 354
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
A Lifebook is also a beautiful way to celebrate the life of a loved one, capture memories and support worthwhile charities that aim to prevent these tragedies happening again. Visit www.livingyears.com to set up a Lifebook today.