'He wore a mask every day': Mum's heartbreaking speech
Tricia Barounis, the mother of late Maryborough teen Yannis Barounis delivered this speech at the LNP State Convention about this need for better mental health support.
GOOD afternoon ladies and gentlemen.
My name is Tricia Barounis and my husband is Tasos, our daughter is Zoe.
258 days ago we lost our son Yannis. He had just turned 17 and he took his own life.
No-one, not his friends, his teachers, his extended family or ourselves knew he was suffering from depression.
He wore a mask every day and was the kid that everyone loved.
His teachers had commented that Yannis was tired and had in fact fallen asleep in class on a couple of occasions.
The day before Yannis died he was in tears in the school grounds and was giving away some personal possessions. Yannis never cried. His friends thought it was strange but no-one recognised the signs and therefore said nothing.
Remember too, if our teachers and students had the correct training the would take it through to their outside and adult lives and may be able to help someone else.
The training will also help remove the stigma that is attached to mental illness.
People will talk more openly about the problem that is threatening to overpower our youth.
If our kids and teachers knew the signs of depression to look out for then maybe someone would have talked to their peers or us and who knows, maybe Yannis would be here with us today.
Until you have been in this situation it is impossible to understand the pain that it brings to your family and friends.
As parents, we stand before you today, broken.
Things will never be the same as part of us is missing.
Our aim is for no other parent to have to go through what we are.
Please remember that the youth of today are our future for tomorrow.
- Tricia Barounis, Yannis' mother
If this story has raised concerns for you, phone:
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Beyondblue: 1300 224 636
- Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
- Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467