News

Pain of son’s suicide will never leave

HINDSIGHT: Beth Ellis remembers her son Robert, who died 25 years ago. She says the loss has been devastating to her family. Photo: Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
HINDSIGHT: Beth Ellis remembers her son Robert, who died 25 years ago. She says the loss has been devastating to her family. Photo: Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner Debrah Novak

EIGHTEEN-year-old Robert Ellis was popular at school, good looking, and bright.

He was the second child of four and was well known in the community for his sporting achievements, having played first-grade cricket as well as footy with the Grafton Ghosts.

The year was 1989 and Robert was a cadet in mechanical engineering, but unknown to many, he was also suffering from undiagnosed depression.

At the time no-one could have known Robert was secretly planning to kill himself, least of all his mum Beth Ellis.

Looking back on the weeks leading up to his death, Beth said she could see something was bothering Robert, but when she talked to him about visiting a GP because he seemed 'down', he brushed her concerns aside. "I'm ok, I'll take care of it," Robert said.

On September 12, 1989, not long after 3pm, Robert locked himself in the family's shed. When his father came home to find him, it was already too late.

Twenty five years later, Beth says looking back there were other signs things weren't right with Robert. He had recently broken up with his girlfriend, left his job and was giving away his possessions.

"We can see it all in hindsight, but at the time we couldn't ever have thought," said Beth.

"He had it all; what people need to realise is that depression and suicide can affect anyone - look at Robin Williams, he was smart and funny - it doesn't discriminate.

"My belief is that you don't wake up of a morning and decide kill yourself; you have to be depressed, and if you're depressed, you have to seek treatment.

"There is help out there, but if you don't seek treatment, you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel - it's black."

Beth said in the weeks following her son's death, she found it hard to cry and wondered if there was something wrong with her.

"But when the crying started, I couldn't stop. I was really angry too, but I did my best not to be angry in front of the other children," she said.

At the advice of her GP, Beth attended regular counselling with a psychologist for the next 12 months.

"It's probably the only thing that kept me going," she said.

"If there's one thing I want to impress upon people is that you've got to go on."

Being a registered nurse, Beth said she was lucky to have the support of her colleagues who listened and gave her time.

But friends and family can back away, not knowing what to say.

"Sometimes all they need to do is give a hug and maybe ask what they can do to help," she said.

While mental health services have improved over the past two decades, Beth says there is still an urgent need for more funding in the area of mental health services, including early assessment and interven

tion.

"We still haven't got enough mental health services in the area for families. People shouldn't be told, we'll put you on the list - they need to see someone straight away."

For 24-hour crisis support phone 13 11 14, or visit http://www.lifeline.org.au/crisischat (8pm-4am AEST).

Topics:  grafton grief suicide



Former Magpies sons return to lead into next generation

NEXT GENERATION: Lower Clarence Magpies new coaches Anthony Hickling and Dan Randall with club president Darrin Heron (centre).

Lower premiership winner Dan Randall returns to lead 2017 charge.

Commercial fishers get extension, but it makes no difference

Ballina trawler harbour.

Deadline extended for NSW fishers buying back into the industry

Sex attacker slapped with strict supervision upon release

Violent sex offender's life after jail no walk in the park

Local Partners

Christmas has arrived in Grafton

Christmas has come to Shoppingworld as Santa arrived this morning to have his photos taken with children.


Bringing their Magic Mojo to Grafton

MAGIC: Head down to Roches Family Hotel for a brilliant mix of '70s, '80s and '90s music by Magic Mojo, a Coffs Coast band using their experience to give a brilliant performance.

Powerful trio to lift the top off Roches Hotel tonight

Catch Saturday night fever at the South Club

GEEZ WIZZ: Get your dancing shoes on for the UK Bee Geez Show.

The UK Bee Geez Show delivers a realistic tribute to pop legends

Audience in for a rare treat from husband and wife duo

Husband and wife Adam Eckersley and Brooke McClymont are playing at home this weekend for an intimate gig at the Pelican Playhouse.

"We love playing these up close and personal acoustic shows”

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

Saying "I do" changed Shia's outlook on marriage

Shia LaBeouf has a new outlook on marriage since he tied the knot.

Singer tunes in to first movie role

Tori Kelly voices the character Meena in the movie Sing.

Musician Tori Kelly voices Meena the teenage elephant in Sing

Cricketing greats bring Aussie mateship to commentary box

Cricket commentator Adam Gilchrist.

ADAM Gilchrist enjoys the fun of calling the Big Bash League.

The dead help solve the case

Debut novel delivers on wit, violence and shock

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

How your home can earn you big $$$$ this Christmas

This luxury Twin Waters home rents out over Christmas for more than $6000 a week.

Home owners earning thousands renting out their homes this Christmas

2000 jobs at multi-million dollar Ipswich project

INSIDE: Artist's impressions of the interior of the new Eastern Heights aged care precinct.

Sub-contractors needed to build $15m aged care facility

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!