Andy Marriott lost his son to suicide and now he works to help others.  Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Andy Marriott lost his son to suicide and now he works to help others. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily John McCutcheon

Coast dad fights suicide for son who died

ANDY Marriott had dozed off at home one night in November 2006 when the door knock came that changed his life.

Two police officers who looked barely old enough to have finished their training had been tasked with delivering the worst possible to news to Andy and his wife, Megan.

Their son, Glenn was dead.

He was barely 18, had barely started living but had decided he did not want to live any more.

His body had been discovered hours earlier, in Adelaide, where he had moved only six weeks before, but police had been struggling to obtain contact information for the Marriotts at Buderim.

Two songs had already been played at a schoolies week function in his memory before his mother and father learned they had lost their once bright and bubbly boy.

What followed were months of disbelief and sadness, anger, and guilt.

Should they have backed out of the tug-of-war with other parties who had encouraged him to move to Adelaide? Had their been any hint when he had spoken to his mother on the phone only the night before?

Glenn left notes for them, saying he had missed them, apologising for what he had done, but, heartbreakingly, the notes also showed he had reached out to those who were around him in Adelaide before making his final decision.

"The saddest part is that he had indicated to them, that this was his intent, but he didn't communicate this with us in any way," Andy said.

The Marriotts' distress was compounded by the reactions of those around them.

"We had the experience of people that we knew, and knew quite well, deliberately crossing the road to avoid us," Andy said.

Months later, they found out that people simply did not know what to say.

Nearly 10 years down the track, Andy is now on a growing personal mission to combat the stigma associated with suicide and try and save lives.

He has been on the committee for StandBy Response Service, which supports people bereaved by suicide, for years and has spoken at two Suicide Bereavement Remembrance Days at Picnic Point.

As a result, he was asked to join Suicide Prevention Australia's Lived Experience speakers bureau and tell his story to wider audiences and more recently, he was invited to sit on the committee for Beyond Blue's National Suicide Prevention Research and Creation Project.

The modest dad and cafe owner - he and Megan have Raw Energy at Coolum - is a little daunted at being in the company of some of Australia's most eminent figures in suicide research and prevention but does not believe in coincidence.

"I'm not sure why it's all happened at once but I'm just going to run with it," he said.

 

Andy and MeganMarriott lost their son to suicide and now Andy works to help others.  Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Andy and MeganMarriott lost their son to suicide and now Andy works to help others. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily John McCutcheon

Andy, who will speak at a breakfast at the Coolum Beach Surf Life Saving Club tomorrow morning run by another suicide prevention group, Roses in the Ocean, wants to attack the suicide rates in this country by raising awareness.

"We have to bust the taboo, pull back the stigma and get people to talk about it," he said.

He wants people to learn how to talk about suicide and choose the right word, to not say "committed suicide" because committed infers a crime or sin, and not talk about a "successful" suicide attempt because it is not successful. He also wants people to have the courage to ask someone bereaved by suicide how they are and start a conversation.

Andy relives part of his experience every time he speaks on suicide but does it in the hope that it can do some good.

"If I can stop one family from having to live through what we have, then talking about it 100 times would be worth it," said.

For one of the last seats at the breakfast tomorrow, Thursday, September 1, email andy@rosesintheocean.com.au.

A community event will be held at the Big Top Shopping Centre on September 8 from 2pm to 8pm to highlight available services and raise awareness about suicide.

World Suicide Prevention Day is on September 10 every year.

If you need help, phone Lifeline on 131114 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.


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