Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

Nothing Matters

Nothing Matters

Sam Aubin

Year 11

A phone call home.

He is gone, carried away by the relentlessness of his demons.

Help, all too far.

A young teen, the world as his oyster, gone - flurried away with the doves.

Social media, brimful with remarks of love.

Love not seen until his faithful last step.

Phone drops; unimaginable grief.

How? One steps' damage,

A step over the ledge - such damage - such grief - such overwhelming grief.

Youth suicide - an issue locked up, chained within the depths of taboo, destruction shielded by the walls of the uncomfortable. “Speak up” - the words which cascade across everyone's social media account, full of emptiness. For speaking up is considered weak; those who do face empty pity.

It is impossible to solve an issue before one has truly come to understand it, but how could one come to the understanding of a bright teen taking his life? For causing such damage to his family and friends. For ending a life of such potential. What possible pain could have caused such a step?

On the day of the death, the paper read - “One Nation election candidate Steve Dickson resigns over strip club” and “Cotton On investigates employee Amber Holt over egging of Scott Morrison”.

From the newspaper, it seems as if what matters most is the scandals of politicians, but to the community of a local teenage boy who recently took his own life, teenage suicide matters; not politician sex scandals nor the dramatised political environment. For the mother, who lost her son to the taunts of bullying, the depths of depression or anxiety; nothing now matters, for her life seems unlivable.

On the day you read this, thirty eight people will attempt to end their lives. 8 will be successful. 8 lives lost to a curable disease. For each life taken, hundreds are affected. Most tragic, their affections came unnoticed to the victim, until his view from high above. What matters most in this country isn't negative gearing nor franking credits. What matters most is not the political bullshit that seems to dominate our news feed nor even climate change, health or education. What matters most is that today, eight people will take their lives by their own hand. A figure which dwarfs in comparison to those dying from cancer, but cancer currently has no cure, while kindness and compassion are free. The true mark of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable, for the young boy who took his own life today - he was most vulnerable.

How is it possible, that we forget what is most important - that we dismiss the fragility of life to pursue greed and ambition? How is it possible that our self-proclaimed intelligent being, caused a young man to kill himself because of relentless bullying or sense of not belonging?

There is a solution for most problems; the first step is to recognise there is one.

I cannot begin to imagine the grief of the mother who picked up the phone to hear the news of her son's fate. To her - nothing else matters.