Have that awkward conversation this Christmas, pleads grieving Riverina mum

TRAGIC: Mitchell Cox took his own life just before Christmas two years ago after a long battle with depression.
TRAGIC: Mitchell Cox took his own life just before Christmas two years ago after a long battle with depression.

A Griffith mother who lost her son to suicide has asked people to make sure their loved ones are OK this Christmas.

Mitchell Cox was just 21 years old when he took his own life on December 23, 2014 after a lifelong battle with depression.

His mother, Carli, said she wanted people to know about the warning signs and that there was always another way through the darkness.

“People in that head-space need immediate crisis contact, to know they’re safe and to know things aren’t hopeless,” Ms Cox said.

“It’s so important to get the message out there that there is hope and they can get over it.”

From the time he was born, Mitchell had struggled.

Ms Cox said he was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice.

And after that traumatic entry into the world he had battled chronic asthma and endured bullying at school.

“Mitch was diagnosed with depression in his early teens and was on various medications,” Ms Cox said.

“I could recognise quite easily when he wasn’t handling things.”

Calls for a dedicated mental health crisis centre in the region have grown since it was reported a suicidal woman spent six hours waiting to see someone at the emergency department in Wagga last week. 

Ms Cox said she liked to think a centre could have prevented Mitchell’s death.

“Maybe he needed to develop a personal relationship with a counsellor he trusted rather than talk to someone on the phone,” she said.

“If he had that person it could have been different.”

Val Woodland from Griffith Suicide Prevention, which operates a 24-hour crisis hotline, said it was critical people had difficult conversations with their loved ones if they suspected they weren’t coping with life.

“Probe a little further and make sure they get help if they need it.

“We need to ask our friends and family if they’re OK and if they say they are but your instinct says otherwise, challenge them on it."

Carli Cox

“This can be a lonely time of year when in you’re in a depressed state, tell them to call and have a chat about their circumstances.”

Lifeline: 13 11 14, Access Line: 1800 011 511, Griffith Hotline: 1300 133 911.