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Our Region, Our People: Meet Damon

Published 14 August 2020

'Better Off With You' suicide prevention initiative

Our Region, Our People - Meet Damon

Damon has achieved many successes in his life, but has also faced his share of challenges. Through the ‘Better Off With You’ suicide prevention campaign pilot, developed by SANE Australia in partnership with Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN), Damon was able to share his story with hope to inspire others to seek the support they need.

An elite wheelchair basketballer for Mackay, Damon was born with spina bifida and has endured over 90 operations in his life. He is also a two-time cancer survivor. It all caught up with Damon after years of bottling up his emotions, and he began to feel isolated, a burden to his loved ones, and felt like he couldn’t speak up and ask for help.

Damon explained that he felt uncontrollable in his own mind and woke up one day and didn’t want to be here anymore. It wasn’t until he found strength and courage to seek help that he was able to get the support he needed to achieve wellness.

“I was simply scared and did some things that very nearly ended my life,” Damon said.

“I opened up that day. And for me, the day I opened up was the day I actually started living my life again.

“I’m no longer a burden to myself, and I no longer feel like I’m a burden to those around me. I have so much to live for now.”

Damon now serves as a model for hope, helping others at risk to seek support and find their strength from within. He shared his story through the 'Better Off With You' suicide prevention campaign pilot targeting the Mackay, Whitsunday, and Isaac regions.

The six-week campaign, launched in January 2020 utilising online platforms and social media, used real stories of individuals with lived experience of a suicide attempt, suicidal thoughts and feelings, or a suicide loss. This innovative approach to the campaign was designed to reach out to people who may be feeling the same way, let them know that they are not alone, inspire hope, and encourage them to seek support.

Through the campaign, Damon has been able to share his advice and experience with others so they too can overcome their feelings of being a burden.

“Find ways to tell yourself that you are better off here. It's very hard when you are in a negative mindset, but a few little positive things can be a reason to live,” said Damon.

“I can honestly say this is my biggest and proudest achievement to date. Thank you for allowing me to tell my story.”

The campaign complements the work being undertaken in the Mackay region to deliver the Suicide Prevention Community Action Plan (SPCAP) and community-based suicide prevention and awareness programs, helping northern Queenslanders live happier, healthier, longer lives.

Last updated: 16 November 2020
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