Never lose hope

CARISSA WRIGHT was just 17 when she tried to take her own life.

Now 27, Wright has attempted suicide nine times, the latest failed attempt in February this year.

She says suicidal thoughts arrive like a wrecking ball, crushing reason and hope in an instant: “It’s overwhelming to the point I can’t process emotions or regulate them.”

“I go into a disassociation that is pretty terrifying.”

Childhood abuse led to a borderline personality disorder and numerous visits to WA’s psychiatric units.

“I have been in and out of the WA system for 11 years,” she says.

• Lifeline’s Susan Schofield with Carissa Wright. Photo supplied

Ms Wright is on a 12-18 month waiting list for dialectical behaviour therapy, so she’s filling her time, outside of her barista job, volunteering with Suicide Prevention Australia and fundraising for the Black Dog Institute.

“To keep me occupied, because I have to wait a long time,” she says

DBT was developed by US psychologist Marsha Linehan in the 1980s.

It’s a cognitive behavioural treatment developed to treat chronically suicidal people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

“And is now recognised as the gold standard,” says the Linehan Institute.

Wright says Australia’s high suicide rate is a sad indictment of the country’s mental health services.

“Eight lives a day are lost in Australia,” she says.

According to Lifeline research, for every suicide there are around 30 failed attempts, which equates to 65,300 people trying to kill themselves each year.

Keen to see an improvement to mental health services, Wright is holding her fourth fundraiser in 12 months at J Shed art studio on Sunday (June 11), and she’s also taking part in the Black Dog Institution’s Sydney City 2 Surf in August.

The J-Shed line-up includes alternative rock band The Chlorines, The Sky Blues, The Gussets and Leon Osborn. It’s BYO drinks, but there will be food vans, and tickets are $15.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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