THE black dog does not discriminate. And the mongrel's bite is worse than its bark.
Depression has turned the Central Queensland mining town of Blackwater on its head after a double suicide of two friends across a 36-day period.
Jordan Brotchie was just 21, his best friend Dan Capewell, understood to be overwhelmed with grief, turned 22 only last week.
The latter leaves behind a two-week-old daughter.
The awful tragedy has left a whole community in a state of shock and tributes have flown for the pair on social media.
A younger friend of Dan's, Mitchell Conlan, is one keeping a level head just days after the passing of a man he "really looked up to".
"Dan was awesome. He was always a bit shy and awkward but funny. Him, Jordan and Mason McDonald, they called them the three amigos. They were inseparable and everyone loved them, we all did," he said.
"I always saw Dan with a smile on his face and happy. A widely loved community member, a brother to his family and friends and dear to everyone who knew him.
"But everything went downhill after Jordan, it was only 36 days after."
It was a during random driving lesson where the grim reality of how far the tragedy reached hit Mitchell.
Blackwater is a town where everyone knows everyone.
"Fundamentally we have been hit," the teen said about the current state of his home town.
"My driving instructor was broken up, and I didn't even know he knew them.
"The day I found out... it was very surreal to know he isn't here. And shattering.
"The whole town has been rocked. It is one of those situations where it affects everyone heavily. We just try and keep a good heart about it."
In statistical terms, Blackwater is in the danger-zone for suicide due to the town's depressed economic situation since the mining downturn.
Mental Health Watch
If you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety or depression help is available:
- Headspace Rockhampton: 4921 9800
- Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636
- The Black Dog: blackdoginstitute.org.au
- Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14 - 24hr telephone crisis support
- Men's Line Australia: 1300 78 99
- Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
- Uniting Care Community who offer face-to-face counselling in Emerald
- Queensland Health Mental Health services: 1300 642 255
Mitchell, while still a youth, fears there isn't enough help in the town.
"I believe we live in a society where we know people want to talk openly but we don't actually allow them these avenues," he candidly told The Morning Bulletin.
"We build up walls and hide behind them. There is a stigma with talking about your problems still.
"It isn't too late and we have to get rid of the stigma. They don't want to make the first leap and it is all about making that first leap.
"People were worried about Dan. I too thought something was wrong. He had a problem for a long time and we all knew about it. I don't know what stopped us.
"People either chastise you for it, or give you endless sympathy. They feel like they are being treated as a child, which doesn't help."
Since Dan's shocking passing on Monday, Mitchell has set up a GoFundMe Page to support his family. A photographer himself, Mitchell is also auctioning off some of his works which in turn will go to the family.
Regional adversity integrated Care Clinician Gareth Daniels said while help might seem far away, the telephone services available were first class.
"I think it is one of the big things, if people do see, is to ask the person and not ignore their signs," Mr Daniels said.
"To pick up on what they are saying and doing, just enough to get them to seek out services that are available.
"Yes it is difficult to provide health services, we do encourage the telephone services who really do provide an excellent service.
"Community members need to be aware that there are assist programs that do training in small communities to identify problems that they may be experiencing and give them the steps to get help."
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