Content warning- suicide is heavily discussed in this article
Stuart Kelly was 18. A recent high school graduate. A brother, a son. Stuart was an advocate for a safer nightlife and a safer city of Sydney for everyone. Following the tragic death of his older brother, Thomas, in 2012, who died two days after being punched by a stranger whilst walking down the street in Kings Cross, Stuart made it his purpose to help tackle Australia’s violent drinking culture – an issue that had affected him so personally. However, because of his views and his bravery he was tormented and bullied. News.com.au is now reporting that this ongoing harassment over the Sydney lock-out laws is what caused Stuart to take his own life last week.
When I read about the death of Stuart Kelly, I was in shock. Because it was the second tragic death of a son in the Kelly family. Because I’ve known Stuart’s sister for ten years. And because it was the third suicide of a young male I was confronted with in six weeks.
Five weeks earlier, I was aboard a train in the city when it abruptly came to a halt between stations at a quarter to midnight. After a few minutes of confusion amongst the passengers, an ominous voice emerged through the carriages to declare there had been a fatality.
Two weeks ago, a Facebook post from my local newspaper informed me that all trains from my hometown to the city were being replaced by buses due to a fatal accident on the tracks.
And then, just last week, I scrolled through my newsfeed and read the headline that almost brought me to tears.
“The teenage brother of one-punch victim Thomas Kelly has tragically died.”
There are some topics that are often left unreported by the media. Suicide is one of them. A single suicide is not news. Often the result of depression or other mental health issues, the death is classified as unsuspicious and thus is not necessary to report. Not to mention that the unimaginable pain felt by family and friends of the deceased does not need to be heightened by intruding journalists. It is usually only the tragic suicides of people who are already in the media spotlight – people such as Stuart Kelly – that we hear about.
Suicide among young males is becoming an epidemic.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2014, the number of males aged 15-24 who took their own lives was more than double that of their female counterparts. Considering that in 2014, suicide was the leading cause of death for people aged between 15 and 44, the amount of media coverage and investigation into the issue and its causes is vastly insufficient.
I do not know the reasons behind why these men decided to take their lives and I do not want to dismiss their personal turmoils and issues by assuming that their experiences were exactly the same. But