Father to again wear red for Ruby
Father to again wear red for Ruby

In the 567 days since Ruby Nicholls-Diver took her own life, father Geoff hasn’t gone one without thinking of his baby girl.

On Monday, when Ruby would have celebrated her 20th birthday, Mr Diver will again don a red t-shirt in loving memory of his daughter.

Now in its third year, Red for Ruby Day is described by organisers as a preventative mental-health-issue campaign, “aiming to inspire the change of the common public view towards mental illness”.

At an age when most teenagers are enjoying new-found freedom, Ruby’s adolescence was overtaken by borderline personality disorder.

Her death brought to an end her six-year struggle against the condition, which affects 200,000 people and a million of their families and friends in Australia.

Since that fatal day, Mr Diver, who lives and works in Port Hedland, has become revered across the State in his fight for answers why – why was his vulnerable, mentally-ill daughter discharged from a Fremantle psychiatric unit just one day after attempting suicide?

He is still demanding a coronial inquiry but realises that is no forgone conclusion.

“The coroner’s office is under resourced and it takes 2-3 years for them to decide whether they’re going to have an investigation,” Mr Diver said. “It is 18 months since Ruby died and the police inquiry has only just finished.

“We’ve had a few government inquiries but no coronial inquest yet. The other inquiries have been done by the Department of Health and it’s been recognised there were weaknesses in discharge policies … and they’ve changed some of the discharge practices at the mental health wards in Perth but because the Department of Health is all fragmented I don’t know if that’s going to apply right across the State.”

At the time the North West Telegraph went to print more than 1000 people had signed up to participate in Red for Ruby Day 2012 while more than 2000 had liked the campaign’s page on Facebook.

Mr Diver said he was overwhelmed by the support but it didn’t make the occasion any easier.

“I think about her every day,” he said. “Until all the inquiries are finished I can’t move on.”

For more information on Red for Ruby Day visit http://www.facebook.com/redforruby.

Lifeline's telephone counselling service is 13 11 14, while the Samaritans WA crisis line is 9381 5555 or 1800 198 313 for country callers.

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