Jay gets past his darkest demons in his darkest hours
JAY Shipston was in a dark place in his life 10 years ago.
He was living in Melbourne, away from family and friends, trying to establish a career in radio and struggling with how to live life as a young gay man.
"It didn't feel like I was being given a break," Jay said.
"I just wanted to live my life and I didn't feel like I could do that.
"I nearly ended my own life, twice, stupidly.
"It's difficult to talk about, but it needs to be said.
"I was 23.
"And then the first time I attempted, I stopped myself, and thought this can be fixed.
"The second time, six months later, I got very close.
"It was right at the pivotal moment, it was either do or die, I literally saw my grieving mother in my head, and my family, my dad.
"I thought 'I don't want someone to have to carry that around for the rest of their life'."
Many people in Mackay know Jay as the morning DJ with personality plus who brings light and laughter into homes.
Not many, even close family and friends, knew of his darkest days.
"This will be the first time a lot of my family will know. My mum knows, my dad knows, it's something I'm not very proud of," Jay said.
"But I think it's important, that people need to speak out if they feel like this."
The issue closest to his heart is teen suicide, particularly for those in same-sex relationships. The deaths of three young people in three weeks prompted him to speak out.
"It's only just recently it's hit me that there are kids out there that need somebody to speak up and say look it's okay," Jay said.
"I don't think there's enough of that happening in this town, or nationally, there isn't enough of it.
"I've lived through losing family and friends because I'm gay. At the time I didn't really understand that, I thought everyone was going to abandon me.
"Had I done that 10 years ago, my parents would probably still be grieving and not be able to move past it 10 years later.
"But in that moment I made a choice to make myself better and to get the help that I needed."
Jay reached out to both parents and help agencies in his dark days. Some options:
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Beyondblue: 1300 224 636
- Headspace Mackay 4898 2200
- If in danger call 000
BECAUSE of the tragic number of suicides in our region, the Daily Mercury is throwing its weight behind a Sign Up for SafeTALK campaign, in conjunction with the Grapevine Group and Lifeline.
Thirty-four people took their lives last year, a figure that gets far less attention than an equally tragic road toll of 23.
SafeTALK is a quick course offered by Lifeline to help people in workplaces, or elsewhere, spot changes in behaviour and other warning signs in those who may be contemplating taking their own life.
The Grapevine Group is providing funding so that businesses can undertake the training at no cost to themselves.
The course takes about three hours. At least 22 businesses have registered their interest in attending training since the campaign was launched on Saturday.
If you want more information, phone Dianne Gillespie on 4944 2300 or email email@example.com.
- Saturdays 10am-1pm
March 18, June 14 and September 13
- Wednesdays from 5.30-8.30pm
March 12, June 18, September 17