Retired Brigidine Nun Sister Jane Keogh was quest speaker at an afternoon tea held by Great Lakes Rural Australians for Refugees on Saturday 16th June.
One of the most disturbing stories Sr. Jane told concerned the family of the 26yr old man who recently committed suicide on Nauru. This man had appealed for medical help frequently for the past year as he was very depressed. No professional psychiatric help is readily available. His 12 year old brother also had appealed for help for his mother who is very ill and has depression. The brother’s suicide has resulted in this young boy being taken into care in Nauru. The mother is left on her own in a camp tent with no family to help her.
This is a tragic story about the lives of real people. They are not numbers on a boat. The most distressing fact that Sr.Jane made was that this was just one amongst hundreds of stories that have been recorded by those that Australia has detained on off-shore islands.
There have been two men suicide on these island centres in the past two weeks and twelve people have died in detention off-shore in the past four years. This is a disgrace to Australia and could have well been avoided through sympathetic and proper health and management.