10 May 2023

Mum thrilled with the rise of Talk About It Tuesdays

| Matt Nicholls
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THIS week marks one year since Daniel Perry took his own life and changed the lives of his family forever.

For his mum Jackie Perry, it was a day she should have been celebrating.

“It was my 60th birthday,” she told Cape York Weekly.

“I can’t believe it has been a year. So much has happened in that time.”

Jackie, a proud Coen woman, is determined to help other mothers avoid the same tragedy that she endured.

She has spent the past 12 months promoting Talk About It Tuesday with long-time friend Debbie Jackson, who also lost a son to suicide.

“Talk About It Tuesday is exactly how it sounds,” Jackie said.

“We just want people to talk about how they are going – have that conversation.

“We ask them to wear a loud shirt and hope that it sparks a conversation.”

TradeMutt sells the loud shirts and donate a portion of the profits to mental health care and related services.

“Quite a few businesses and individuals are wearing shirts on a Tuesday now,” she said.

“We are getting a lot of support in Weipa and have been to talk to Rio Tinto about it.”

Jackie said she was eager to see Rio Tinto and other mining companies support the cause.

“FIFO workers are especially vulnerable,” she said.

“Debbie and I have been to talk to Rio about some of the things they can implement to help FIFO workers.”

Her son Dan had been a FIFO worker at Skardon River before he died in Ravenshoe.

“I didn’t have anyone I could call,” Jackie said, still scarred by the tragedy.

“He was 37 years old and left behind two beautiful children.”

Jackie said her son was likely bipolar but hadn’t been diagnosed by a doctor.

She believed her son went through the same things a lot of men go through and don’t talk about.

“He was separated and wasn’t seeing his kids. He had some money problems and felt a bit helpless,” she said.

“It’s a big problem with a lot of men that they are too ashamed to talk about it with their mates or with a professional.”

Jackie said Talk About It Tuesday was an easy way to end the stigma of mental health problems.

“I’m lucky that I can afford to pay for a psychologist and talk about some of my trauma,” she said.

“But I feel bad for some families who can’t.

“In Coen last year we had one family lose two people to suicide – a brother and sister.

“There isn’t a lot of local support for them.”

“A suicide can rip the heart out of the community.”

Jackie said anyone interested in being a Talk About It Tuesday ambassador should buy a TradeMutt shirt and join the Facebook group.

“Most importantly, talk to someone if you’re feeling down,” she said.

The RFDS has a mental health team which can be contacted on 1300 010 174.

Alternatively, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14

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