The mourning girlfriend of a man who died by suicide says she regrets not knowing what to do when he cried out for help.
Trent Dance, from Ipswich southwest of Brisbane, had been struggling with the stresses of life but went downhill in the past couple of months and died suddenly on October 11.
The 34-year-old dad was an avid powerlifter and had a loving girlfriend who he had been inseparable from since March. But his mental health was taking a silent toll.
His girlfriend, Samara Thorpe, told Yahoo News Australia Mr Dance had a happy exterior and not many knew what he faced on the inside.
Even knowing the whole time Mr Dance had struggles, Ms Thorpe admitted even she didn’t know how much he wasn’t coping.
“I think that’s the thing with depression,” she said.
Messages of suffering in lead-up to death
Mr Dance posted a tragic message on Instagram before his death about how much he was struggling.
“Two weeks with no training, been eating like s**t,” he said.
“I haven’t tracked at all. Struggling hard with depression. Anxiety has been off the charts. Sleeping like s**t. No motivation.
“The last couple of weeks have beaten me down. I haven’t been in a good place. I’ve let everything defeat me and I’ve allowed myself to suffer, waiting for something to fix it and pull me out of the pit I put myself in.
“Enough is enough. Time to get up, shake it off, surround myself with positivity and take back my life.”
Ms Thorpe also read a number of Mr Dance’s messages after his death and said he reached out to a lot of people in regards to his mental health.
“He had said in messages to friends that he was at rock bottom and he needed to do something before he would do something he could not come back from,” she said.
“But I don’t think people including myself really know how to support people struggling with their mental health.
“He talked to me about his struggles so much, I felt like I tried as much as I could [but] supporting someone with depression is hard. I felt my mental health deteriorating in the process.
“I didn’t know how to help him and that’s one thing I regret.”
Ms Thorpe added she encouraged him to get help, but said more people needed to know how to support someone in his situation.
‘His death has shaken the community’
Ms Thorpe said her partner was the most caring and funny man she had ever met.
“We had our struggles like any relationship but our love was pure,” she said.
“He was so caring and supportive to everyone – he loved so hard.”
She added he would always show up for his friends and a lot of people are “in shock and in disbelief”.
“His death has shaken the community,” she said.
“We are rallying the community to raise funds and join us for the culminating event at World Gym Ipswich where we will band together to collectively lift the value of the sum of funds that are raised, in kilograms,” Ms Thorpe said.
“If you donate $1000, we’ll lift 1000kg using Trent’s favourite powerlifting discipline, the deadlift.”
How to help somebody struggling with mental health
According to mental health service Beyond Blue, common symptoms of depression can include not going out anymore, withdrawing from loved ones, struggling to concentrate, feeling overwhelmed or lacking in confidence.
They can also experience an increase in alcohol or drug use, loss or change of appetite, struggles getting to sleep, feelings of irritability and feelings of worthlessness and guilt.
There are about three million Australians living with anxiety or depression, with the suicide rate in men three times higher than women.
Beyond Blue said an average of 6.3 men died by suicide every day across the country.
According to mental health organisation ReachOut, people worried about a loved one struggling should learn more about what they’re going through.
Their advice is to be open and listen, take their feelings seriously, help them to find support, continue to support them and respond to emergencies, and celebrate their successes.
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