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World Suicide Prevention Day, 2020: Depression was the cause of Zac's death, his mother says

GONE: Zac Beuzeville was just 20 years old when he took his own life on July 1, 2013, Photo: SUPPLIED
GONE: Zac Beuzeville was just 20 years old when he took his own life on July 1, 2013, Photo: SUPPLIED

ZAC Beuzeville died from depression.

That's what his mother Sharon Beuzeville would like people to think seven years on from her son's decision to take his life.

"Suicide is not an illness, it's an act. I wish they said 'he died from depression' or 'he died from anxiety'," she said.

"Zac died from depression."

Ms Beuzeville's son had suffered from anxiety all his life, which she said led to the depression, and he had sought help in the lead-up to his death.

Zac died on July 1, 2013 and his mother's memories of that time are etched into her mind.

"It was a massive rollercoaster ride; they were some of the best of the best times and some of the worst of the worst," Ms Beuzeville said.

"It was a snap decision on the Saturday night/Sunday morning that he made.

"I still look back and think 'what did I miss'."

SHATTERED: "I still look back and think 'what did I miss'," Sharon Beuzeville says. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

SHATTERED: "I still look back and think 'what did I miss'," Sharon Beuzeville says. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

Ms Beuzeville believes mental health issues are insidious.

"It's a disease, just like cancer, but it's a very individual thing. What works for one doesn't work for another," she said.

Despite Zac's decision to take his life, Ms Beuzeville believes her son, and many others who die by suicide, don't actually want to die.

"I think a lot of the time that they don't want to die, they just want the pain that they're living in daily to go away - that mental anguish, that heaviness to get out of bed to go away," she said.

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, Ms Beuzeville said it can be a challenge for families of someone suffering from mental health issues.

It's really difficult because you need the doors and the lines of communication to be open, but you also need to give your children the space to do their own thing.

Sharon Beuzeville

"It's really difficult because you need the doors and the lines of communication to be open, but you also need to give your children the space to do their own thing," she said.

"You can't watch them 24/7.

"It's important not to get angry because their thoughts are a little off-base. It's not a ridiculous thought to them; we have to accept that what they're thinking is real."

Ms Beuzeville said Zac had only ever once hinted at his suicidal thoughts and that occurred six months before he died.

"He used to get so upset; he'd go for a drive and he wouldn't tell you where he was going," she said.

"He came home one day and said 'it'll happen one day and you'll have to know that I'm in a better place'.

LASTING LEGACY: Sharon Beuzeville in 2013 just one month after her son Zac took his own life. She decided straight away that wanted to raise awareness of mental health issues. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0803sgbeuzeville

LASTING LEGACY: Sharon Beuzeville in 2013 just one month after her son Zac took his own life. She decided straight away that wanted to raise awareness of mental health issues. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0803sgbeuzeville

"He was in an emotionally distressed state, but after calming down and thinking about it, he said what a 'stupid thought' it was."

Just eight months after Zac died, his father (and Ms Beuzeville's husband) Freddie died and it left Ms Beuzeville grief-stricken.

"The way I got through the day was when I woke up I'd say 'I'll do you proud today'," she said of the loss of her son and husband.

These days, seven years after their deaths, Ms Beuzeville said she is extremely positive about lives and hopeful of making a difference to other people suffering from mental health issues.

"I was given Zac for a reason and he was taken from me for a reason, but I won't let his disease ruin what life should be about," she said.

"I'll remember him always as the fun-loving kid that I had."

If you or someone you know needs help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78, or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

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This story Depression is a disease, just like cancer first appeared on Daily Liberal.