Parents who lost son to suicide chalk about mental health 😢
By Bryan Wright
My name’s Zoe Strickland. And I’m David Strickland. And our story is a sad one. So, Elliot is our eldest son and last year, June 23rd 2018, he took his life. Still really unbelievable. Everything seemed completely normal We found him probably about
half an hour after. But he’d already lost his life. And it changed our lives. Elliot was a very kind, compassionate,
empathetic person. He was a very deep thinker, lovely soul and yeah,
his beautiful smile. And he was funny. And I miss him.
We miss him. And we keep going.
We look after each other, we look after our boys,
submerse yourself in hobbies, I play my music, Zoe makes her wands
and I make my beer. It’s a roller-coaster.
It is a roller-coaster of grief. When faced with the statistics and the
enormity of the problem you think
what can I actually do? And the
Let’s Chalk About Mental Health, I stumbled upon it randomly
whilst googling suicide awareness prevention. Last year was the inaugural
event in Christchurch and we saw it and we thought
we can do the same, it’s chalk and pavement, so we cobbled it together last year. It was a huge cross-section of
people that came down and wrote messages about
people who they’d lost, friends or family they’d lost. Some kids and some grandmas
and grandpas, it was huge. It felt very optimistic and we’re doing the same again
on the 31st of August. The idea is that
we provide the chalk, we’re kicking it off at the library end
of the Stratford cycle path, and it would be really cool if we could
chalk the whole length of the cycle path up to Freshwater. It’s about raising awareness
really for mental health, keeping the conversations about
mental health open, killing the stigma around suicide, being able to say the ‘s’ word
and talk about it, I think in the hope that if those
conversations are normalised as they are around talking about
having a physical illness or having the flu, even those with suicide ideation, if they’re able to share how they’re
feeling because they feel they can, it might just save a life. You never know. That’s the hope. The idea is that anybody can hold
a Let’s Chalk event, so it’s getting a pavement, some chalk, you could chalk in your driveway.
but the idea is that you take a picture of your chalking, you put it on
your own Facebook or Instagram so people can see and then you tag
the host page so it’s one of those little catchy things, it’s like a big ripple and it
just gets bigger and bigger. We make it a yearly event and it grows
each time that’s fantastic. Looking out for each other, keep asking people
how they are and listening. We all ask each other,
‘How are you doing?’ and you just, ‘Oh fine. Okay,’ and you turn away and
get on with your life but some people really
need to be listened to.