Survivors speak about depression as push for talks continues

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THEY'VE survived depression and suicidal thoughts, and now they will share their recovery stories in a Gladstone-first seminar tomorrow night.

The Inspiring Australia Day session aims to promote conversations about suicide awareness and prevention in Gladstone.

Event organiser Mel Mayers said a handful of Gladstonites will take to the podium to share their journeys.

Kathi Close, who spoke at the March event in Tannum Sands, said part of recovery involves talking about the issue.

"People shouldn't be afraid to ask someone if they are OK," Ms Close said.

"If that person says 'no' you could be the one to take them to the counsellor or doctor."

Ms Mayers said Gladstone State High School students and local and state government representatives would also speak on the night.

In March Gladstone MP Liz Cunningham attended the session, and Cr Maxine Brushe will attend tomorrow night.

"By listening to people who were at their lowest and then picked themselves up shows that there is hope," Ms Mayers said.

"Suicide and depression aren't really talked about in society."

Inspiring Australia Day is celebrated nationally on May 30 to help create heroes in regional communities.

This is the second Inspiring Australia Day session to be held in the region, following a forum at the Tannum Seagulls Football Club in March.

It comes as The Observer steps up support for local people and organisations speaking out about the impact of suicide in our region.

"If people can get behind this and raise the awareness and save one more person, then we have done our job," Ms Mayers said.

The Inspiring Australia Day session will be held at 25 Off St, Gladstone on Thursday, August 15  at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. Admission: $10. Information: mel@mmdrivertrainers.com.au.

Kathi to share her story at seminar

KATHI Close has always believed her depression was linked to her weight.

But when she shed 80kg and still couldn't shake it, she realised the condition was much more serious.

After seeking medical help, the Tannum Sands resident learned her negativity was caused from a hereditary, chemical imbalance in the brain.

On Thursday Kathi will share her journey, beating depression, at the Inspiring Australia Day forum.

"I'd pick a tree as I was driving between Gladstone and Tannum and think about driving into it," she said.

Kathi Close speaks out to Gladstone.
Kathi Close speaks out to Gladstone. Brenda Strong

But Kathi knew that if she went ahead with it, she would be leaving behind her family and friends.

"The things that stopped me was knowing that so many people loved me."

Kathi was diagnosed with anxiety and depression at the Currumbin Clinic, was prescribed anti-depressants and attended counselling.

While the road to recovery was long, Kathi is now living a happier life.

"I have to believe that the things I have been doing are the right choices and I will live with that for the rest of my life," she said.

"It is so much easier to be depressed and stay in that mind set, than thinking positively."

Kathy inspired crowds at the first Inspiring Australia Day forum in March.

She also hopes to help change the lives of more young people on Thursday night.

"The drugs and the alcohol are having an impact on the mental health of the young ones in Gladstone." she said.

"People shouldn't be afraid to ask someone if they are OK."

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