On the 5th March 2013 my dear friend of over 20 years ended her life and every bodies first question was why? When I responded with “it was depression” I got a sense that people thought it had to be something more tangible to cause such devastation.

Helena Margaret Carlton was raised on a mixed/dairy farm in the Northen Rivers of NSW, the eldest of three siblings, grew up in a ‘normal’ country family with the typical farming highs and lows. I met Helena whilst studying at Agricultural College where  we quickly became the best of friends. During the holidays we would work on our family farms assisting in all facets of  farming activities. Helena, having been born and bred on the land was more than capable and often guided me in my agricultural pursuits. She still worked on her family dairy farm full time and had seen many changes within the industry, some of which I understood had her feeling quite frustrated.

Helena is survived by her parents, siblings and her loving husband, Wayne. Partners since high school, her husband told me there weren’t any recognisable signs she was suffering depression, no checklists he could use to identify depression or that she had any intentions of suicide. However, on that fateful day her parting words to her husband, “No matter what happens just remember I love you, I always have and I always will”, brought brief concern to him but still no incling of the devastation that would unfold hours later.

The reason for this rather intense blog post about suicide is to inform people, whom like myself, think or thought that depression or a major depressive episode with suicidal thoughts would be recognisable. I know that Helena’s thoughts of mental illness were still attached to the outdated stigma and that if she had a problem she did not want to burden others.

Throughout my life I have known and worked with people whom have taken their lives, their depression and suicidal cognitions like Helena were not apparent and I urge you to take a good look around the website www.beyondblue.com.au and familiarise yourself with common depression and anxiety disorders that can afflict anyone at anytime. With ignorance the stigma remains.

Helena’s huband and family insisted on no flowers at her funeral instead asking that a donation be made to the above organisation. Helena’s husband Wayne was supportive of my decision to write about their story and to use all names.

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  • Thank you for sharing your friends story. Depression is so real.


  • Thank you for sharing this article, it is such an important topic to discuss.


  • this is a sad story especially when her hubby didn’t know what was happening


  • I have friends and family members who have suffered depression. I too had a breakdown when I was 20. I feel for these people and I am well aware when someone cries out for help. I have picked up on School Mum friends who tell me they get their kids to school and then they go back to bed. Alarm bells ring!! They are suffering depression, they just don’t know it. I sit them down and ask a few more questions and ask if they would like a friend to help them get on top of it. I go to the Doctors with them and sit with them as they talk to their partner explaining their plight. I as so glad this sad article was shared and this helps people to take note of what is really being said. A cry for help..


  • I have several friends fighting with depression and I often ask what it’s like so I can be supportive it ranges in answers depending on days etc.


  • So sad! It is surprising how many people suffer from depression and do nothing about it.


  • depression is just awful. i experienced PND after my first bub, but overcame it quickly without any support . i consider myself very lucky, not everyone is. i have three kids today and couldnt be happier.


  • some are good at hiding it its something we all need to be on the look out for


  • Very sad :( I’m so relieved to be past this in my life, hopefully never to return.


  • A sad story. Its great for the family to support beyond blue by asking for donations at her funeral.


  • Very sad story I myself is struggling through depression, I lost my mum to cancer just over a year ago and I’ve sunk right down, I’ve only now just started to get help through doctors and organizations but yes depression is such a silent stage sorry to hear this thanks for sharing.


  • Depression is definitely a ‘silent’ illness. It is not like a broken arm or leg which is easily visible. If one suspects a loved one might have depression, they should seek medical advice. Organisations such as Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute are really helpful in getting all the assistance and care one needs.


  • Also don’t tell someone with depression to just get over it. They cannot. And they probably on’t come to you for help when they really need it if they are worried about your response.


  • Unfortunately this is happening all too often. Sometimes people don’t know how to deal with other peoples depression and either stay away or fail to take it as serious as it should be taken. People think people that talk about suicide don’t kill themselves. This is wrong, sometimes that is the cry for help. Sometimes it’s kept to oneself rather than bother their friends with it. What can they do anyway? They can lend you a ear, a shoulder to cry on, take you out and take your mind of things. Sometimes just having someone to say what your feeling too can help you, even though they did nothing but listen. Ask if there is anything you can do to help. Don’t ask someone if they are OK? if you don’t want to listen to their answer? It’s not fair to them and can actually make them feel worse. I suffer from depression as do a lot of my family. I am taking my meds and am feeling quite good at the moment. I see a counselor to talk to as l don’t want to bother my family at the moment as they have and are going through some serious health issues at the moment. Seeing my counselor has been my saving grace.


  • What a read, thanks for sharing


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