NOTE: This R U OK article contains discussion of mental health and suicide
2019 is the 10-year anniversary of when the R U OK? organisation started with the aim of providing suicide prevention resources to Australians. To raise awareness for this year’s R U OK Day, co-founder Graeme Cowan has shared his suicide note in an attempt to start a broader conversation about mental health.
Taking to Facebook, Cowan shared the note, which is dated July 24, 2004. On that day, the R U OK? co-founder’s family found him unconscious after a suicide attempt and were able to call for help and save his life.
Here’s what the note reads:
My dear family,
After four long years of battling this illness I just can’t take it anymore. I feel I have tried everything and just can’t see anything but a depressed future.
I would like to thank everyone for the love and care you have all shown me. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Please don’t blame yourselves in any possible way for this as there is nothing possibly that you could have done.
P.S. I just can’t be a burden any longer.
Since posting the note, Cowan has been inundated with thousands of supportive messages, comments and people sharing their own stories.
In response to all the comments (via ABC News), Cowan says he’s “amazed” and hopes his note will shine a light on the importance of talking about mental health.
“I’ve had so many comments, and from people of the world, just saying that this is a really, really important discussion.
“Because people are all touched by it. It might not be specifically suicide, but it’s definitely depression or anxiety or post-traumatic stress.”
Talking about Australia’s suicide rate – it sits at 12.9 per 100,000 and is far more prevalent among men than women – Cowan also hopes his note and R U OK? will break the “burden” mentality by encouraging people to share how they’re feeling, especially men.
As for advice for those trying to support people with depression, Cowan says that “just being there and showing care and following up and thinking about how they can support” is huge and encouraging them to “keep trying things” to help with their problems.