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SPEAKING OUT: Launceston City Council Alderman Karina Stojansek used the platform to speak publicly about mental health and suicide awareness.

SPEAKING OUT: Launceston City Council Alderman Karina Stojansek used the platform to speak publicly about mental health and suicide awareness.

Launceston City Council Alderman Karina Stojansek used the platform to publicly raise awareness for the first time since her husband, Launceston Deputy Mayor Jeremy Ball, took his own life in 2014.

LAUNCESTON SCENES: Jess Andrews shared her experience with anxiety and depression through the photo series. Pictures: Alison Cosker

LAUNCESTON SCENES: Jess Andrews shared her experience with anxiety and depression through the photo series. Pictures: Alison Cosker

A simple portrait of Ms Stojansek in Civic Square was accompanied by moving words about life after her husband’s death, and the reverberating grief. 

She said the post was “a big step”, as it marked the first time she had spoken out publicly since Mr Ball’s death. 

SHARING STORIES: Richard Harmey used his post to share his experience with anxiety.

SHARING STORIES: Richard Harmey used his post to share his experience with anxiety.

“It's very hard to put yourself out there so publicly and it leaves you feeling very vulnerable,” she said.

“It is an uncomfortable topic, but it's something that I think is important that people start the conversation.

“Hopefully by doing that it will encourage others to seek help and talk about it."

In the post, Ms Stojansek called suicide hard to “comprehend” and “reconcile”. 

Since the post was published, Ms Stojansek said she received excellent feedback, and people had reached out to reveal their own mental health issues.

"Quite a lot of people still didn't actually know what happened with Jeremy, so that was interesting, even though I've always been very open with that," she said. 

“It's been lovely, the messages of support and so forth.”

After her husband’s death, Ms Stojansek gained insight into society’s uncomfortable attitude towards grief. 

“One thing that I've found, is even now, two years down the track, people don't know what to say to me – and I'm a very open person,” she said. 

“People just don't know whether to approach you or what to say and there's that uncomfortable sort of feeling and that's a shame, because the person that died will always be a part of your life.”

She said she felt “passionately” about raising mental health awareness since her “visionary” husband died. 

“It's about starting the conversation, [which is] exactly what this campaign is doing,” Ms Stojansek said.

“Getting people talking about it, and by featuring people's stories it makes it more real and brings it closer to home." 

As a society, one person dying to suicide is too many ... the implications go on forever. - Launceston City Council Alderman Karina Stojansek

Ms Stojansek said it was important resources were widely available and people knew how to access services.

She said it was particularly important to look out for loved ones in times where a stressful event could render them vulnerable. 

“I'm amazed still, even now, I'm still getting messages from people who it had a profound effect on,” Ms Stojansek said of her husband’s death. 

“As a society, one person dying to suicide is too many – the implications go on forever.” 

If you need help, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.

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