Originally published by News.com.au on 8 May 2015
Nic Newling was the youngest of three brothers. Ben was into sailing, Christopher captained the rugby team and Nic was the theatre geek, the emotional one.
All three battled mental health problems as they grew up.
Many people thought Nic had the worst problems. He spent a lot of time on Sydney psychiatric wards, talked about his suicidal thoughts and struggled to comprehend reality.
Then, shockingly, Christopher took his own life at 17.
“We were both getting help, medication, seeing professionals,” Nic, now 28, toldnews.com.au. “He was holding back from the issues more. He would never speak about being suicidal.
“He was higher in the social pecking order and probably felt he had more to lose.”
The family were destroyed by Christopher’s death. “Cricket” had always been shy and sensitive, but had worked hard to be seen as outgoing and confident. No one, from his brothers to his parents Phil and Jayne, had realised how deep his problems went.
Nic, who spent years battling dark thoughts and had electric-shock therapy at 16, now speaks publicly about suicide, encouraging young men in particular to feel comfortable discussing mental health.
“My brother was really scared of talking about suicide,” he said. “It’s emotionally disconnecting, covering your flaws and weaknesses because you’re afraid someone will pounce.”
Men account for 80 per cent of suicides in Australia. While more women will suffer from depression in their lifetime than men, men are less likely to seek help, with 72 per cent not accessing support, compared to 60 per cent of women, according to recent study Men, Depression, and Coping: Are We on the Right Path?
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