Sandra Moran is riding her motorbike more than 36,000km and stopping at over than 300 towns across Australia, including Tasmania, talking about the loss of her son Jaie to suicide (April 2014).
Her ride is being supported by Overdownunder, a national anti-bullying, depression and suicide education and prevention organisation that is launching their smartphone app to help those feeling vulnerable and in need. Overdownunder Founder, Jerry Farsoun, has been driv ing the campaign bus that has been fitted out by generous businesses all around Melbourne, and will stand to spend $80,000 of his own money to support the journey, also leaving at home his two young sons and his wife. Along the way, Sandra has been talking and showcasing a selection of Overdownunder’s short film productions in the hope to open up the conversation in a bid to reduce those feeling suicidal. “I lost my youngest (child), we didn’t get a chance to help him. We didn’t get any sort of warning so we are just saying to people we deserve a chance,’ Tracy said. “The actual damage done by suicide, the trauma on family and friends is catastrophic.” Arriving in Ballarat on Saturday Sandra said they were trying to turn the ripple effect of the negative into a positive.
“It’s not a single person’s battle, it should be a community battle, so we are trying to get communities to start realizing we all have to contribute time, effort, understanding and acceptance,” she said. “We deserve a chance to help, the stigma has to go.” Sandra said she had met Jerry about four years ago, when she first learnt of Overdownunder through a face book page and the pair communicated.
“Jaie caught us off guard and I think it was about 4 weeks after Jaie that I said to Jerry I lost one of mine,” she said. Sandra had no idea that Jaie was at risk.
He had been diagnosed as being bi-polar 16 days before he died.
“Suicide, depression, mental illness has no race, gender, religion, social status, it doesn’t matter if you are rich, poor or in-between,” she said.
“In the 2013 Australian Bureau statistics suicide is now the leading cause of premature death from 14-44 year olds.
“In 2003-2012 I think we have lost just over 23,000 people to suicide.” Founder, Jerry Farsoun, said he tried to take his own life in 2007 and that is how Overdownunder started. “We have had a good response so far on the campaign,” he said.
“More people are following Sandra’s story, which is most important, to let the people you love and care about have a chance to help. “It’s not selfish but it’s about realizing if you jump it’s too late – it’s about learning different ways to think and help you cope through those difficult times and so these short films outside the bus in the outdoor cinema, people can also watch on utube and social media and people can talk to Sandra. It opens the door for people to talk.” The campaign is due to finish in November.
If anyone wishes to help go to the face book page: