Gayel Backer lost her son Tyson Slade, who was 20, to suicide 13 years ago. Gayel attended the World Suicide Prevention Day ceremony at Gladstone Regional Council.
Gayel Backer lost her son Tyson Slade, who was 20, to suicide 13 years ago. Gayel attended the World Suicide Prevention Day ceremony at Gladstone Regional Council. Brenda Strong

Ceremony a step towards stopping suicide scourge in region

GAYEL Backer contemplated taking her own life after son Tyson Slade committed suicide 13 years ago.

But with the help of her psychologist sister-in-law, Gayel found the support she needed to live another day.

"I could have joined Tyson as well, but I had people to support me," Gayel said.

"You learn to live with it (the pain), but you never get over it."

The Gladstone mother shared her sadness with 30 other locals at the World Suicide Prevention Day ceremony at Gladstone Regional Council on Tuesday.

While it is still hard to talk about her loss, Gayel is urging young people to speak out about the issue.

"If I had known more about suicide I would have done more," she said.

"A couple of years after Tyson passed away, I found out his friend knew he was planning to commit suicide.

"While I don't worry about that now, I think friends should talk to the parents to make them aware of it."

Gayel said events like World Suicide Prevention Day and RU OK? Day helped raise awareness of the issue in Gladstone.

RU OK? Day is celebrated nationally tomorrow.

World Suicide Prevention Day ceremony at Gladstone Regional Council, Michaelle Luijs speaking.
World Suicide Prevention Day ceremony at Gladstone Regional Council, Michaelle Luijs speaking. Brenda Strong