Raby’s Donna Redman is passionate about youth suicide prevention and as teacher and now a writer, she is trying to educate students and teachers.
Suicide is the leading cause of death for young Australians and the Lifeline Macarthur branch expects to take 32,000 calls during this financial year.
Ms Redman’s novel, Awakening Sebastian, follows a year 12 student as he makes the decision to end his life but instead it becomes a story of redemption and hope as he rebuilds his life.
‘‘The book has been a seven year journey and my background is as an English high school teacher and I have a strong passion for youth mental health and suicide prevention,’’ Ms Redman said.
In 2013, she was awarded a NSW Premier’s Teacher Scholarship to conduct international youth suicide prevention research.
After that Ms Redman launched Awaken Youth, a suicide prevention training module specifically for school teachers.
She said there was a gap in teaching and her module trains teachers in how to respond to students who have suicidal thoughts and she would like to broaden her workshops to students.
‘‘I had a difficult year 12 journey and one teacher was instrumental and helped me push through and I wanted to go into teaching to have the same capacity to help students,’’ Ms Redman said.
She said Australia still needed to break down the stigma of help-seeking behaviour and she believes teachers are pivotal because young people can talk and connect with them.
Ms Redman is presenting a free author talk at Narellan Library on October 29 from 5.30pm to 7pm.
Awakening Sebastian can be bought online at http://www.awakeningsebastian.com/.