Stepping up to stop suicide

Kylie and her brother John. Pictures - supplied.

By Mitchell Clarke

Kylie Millar has a mission to create a legacy for her brother John.

John James Millar was just 32 years old when he tragically took his own life in 2017. He left behind two children and a family which has never fully recovered. His best mate Damien Workman took his life just days earlier. He was only 28.

“I wish he had called me. I would have sat with him forever and I wouldn’t have left his side. I would have cried with him,” Kylie said.

“Most importantly, I would have told him that there is light at the end of the tunnel and to just hold on a little longer. I would have split my heart in two if I thought it would help.”

John left a suicide note by his bed which read that he was sorry and loved his family. He also wanted everything to go to his kids.

“He was an amazing dad to those kids, he loved them more than anything,” Kylie said.

“John was a quiet boy growing up, he was sweet and kind and funny. He would bribe my sister Jade and I to go down to the milk bar to get him lollies, he’d bribe us to do his chores.

“He would bribe us for almost anything and we did it, we loved him so much.”

Struggling from the death of John and his best mate Damien, affectionately known as ‘Damo’, Kylie has set herself a mission – to prevent suicide, improve community awareness and shatter the stigma of mental health by initating a positive movement for people to speak up and reach out for help.

That is how the JD Movement was created.

“Since losing the boys two years ago I have had my own struggles with mental illness,” Kylie explained.

“I was pregnant when they both took their lives, I couldn’t fall apart. I had to hold everyone up because I needed them.

“I don’t want anyone to feel what I feel or to go through what I go through or what these families go through – two families destroyed by suicide two weeks apart is huge.”

Kylie has started a Facebook page for the movement, which she hopes will soon be registered as a non-for-profit charity.

“I want to do fundraisers every year so I can donate to charities,” she said.

“I would like to do the suicide walk for World Suicide Prevention day in September with merchandise that can be purchased.

“I would like to do bereavement groups with trained counsellors and do suicide prevention workshops which talks about the signs and when someone is in need of help.”

But the first step is a charity event in Longwarry with all proceeds going towards the cause.

The event will be held on Sunday 23 June from 10am-4pm at Longwarry Hall. Everyone is invited to attend and support the cause.

She hopes this event will provide one way to ensure that John and Damo’s legacy never dies.

“I hope they are remembered every day. I hope they are talked about every day. I hope by sharing their photos and their story that everyone will get on board and donate and help out every year,” Kylie said.

“I beg you to reach out and speak up, there is light at the end of your tunnel and it is ok not to be ok.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

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