'How do you protect your kids from themselves?'

TRAGEDY: Sandra Moran from Hervey Bay with a photo of her son Jaie, who was a victim of suicide. Sandra will ride her motorbike 36,000km around Australia later this year to raise awareness.
TRAGEDY: Sandra Moran from Hervey Bay with a photo of her son Jaie, who was a victim of suicide. Sandra will ride her motorbike 36,000km around Australia later this year to raise awareness. Alistair Brightman

A RATBAG. The life of the party, with the goofiest laugh you can imagine and a kind and caring heart.

Jaie Moran was a partner, a son, a brother and a father.

Through laughter and sometimes tears, Hervey Bay's Sandra Moran shared memories of her youngest child, who took his own life last year, two days after he turned 22.

On August 1, Sandra will start a 36,000km journey to raise awareness - a journey she hopes will save other families from going through the torment hers is going through.

Sandra intends to visit 300 towns, sharing Jaie's story and making sure her son's death was not in vain.

While Jaie, who was living and working in Rockhampton, had a supportive family, including his mum, his older brother and sister, his fiancé Jade and their daughter Poppy, he suffered from mental illness.

Jaie was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder when he was young and Sandra said her son also showed symptoms of bipolar disorder.

On the night of his death, Jaie, who was working in Biloela, called his brother, Deon, and his sister, Jacque.

He called them to say he was sorry, and goodbye.

Jaie's body was found by police at a location in Biloela about 1am on April 2 last year.

"This is the trauma my kids have to live with every day," Sandra said.

Jaie didn't like the way drinking alcohol affected him, but police told Sandra her son had been drinking heavily in the four to five days before his death.

She believes that her son was self-medicating, something she said was typical for many people who suffered mental illness.

Sandra said parents feared losing their children to a car crash or an illness, but parents never thought their child would be a victim of suicide.

She said even though, she knew Jaie was at risk, she never thought her son would take his life.

The pain of mental illness didn't end with suicide, Sandra said.

"When you take your life, the pain doesn't end - it gets passed on to those who love you."

Sandra said mental illness lied to people.

"Depression lies to them, saying they're worthless.

"They're not thinking logically or rationally.

"I would die in the next instant if it would bring my son back. How do you protect your kids from themselves?"

Sandra said Jaie's daughter, 22-month-old Poppy had been her "saving grace".

"If it hadn't been for that little girl, I don't know if I would have had the strength to go on."

Sandra said it was good to know part of Jaie lived on.

Do you need help?

Lifeline 13 11 14

headspace 1800 650 890

beyondblue 1300 224 636

Suicide call back service 1300 659 467

Topics:  editors picks mental health mental health awareness week suicide suicide prevention

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