Sam's story: A grieving Mandurah mother's plea to help kids left behind

Sam Bailey died on July 27, nine days after he turned 17.

His mum, Fiona, had no idea something was so terribly wrong with Sam he would take his own life.

But on the night Mrs Bailey can’t describe without crying, Sam told her he would stack the dishes and said he was heading off for a shower. She found him 20 minutes later.

What still upsets Mrs Bailey three months after she lost her son was that she didn’t know Sam desperately needed professional help.

“I never in the world imagined that he was as bad as what he obviously was and not once did I ever think that this would happen, not once,” she said.

'Sam literally did light up a room when he walked in and I don’t think I’m just saying that because he was my son, but he did.'

Fiona Bailey

She said the night he died, he spoke about what he wanted to do on the weekend.

“What happened to him wasn’t planned,” Mrs Bailey said.

“He’d been saving for a $1400 computer and two nights before he ordered it.

“The week it happened, he was a bit titchy, a bit grumpy, but he was still singing and dancing in the kitchen.”

Sam was a boy who was loved, his mother said, and no-one believed it had happened.

“Sam literally did light up a room when he walked in and I don’t think I’m just saying that because he was my son, but he did,” she said.

About 800 people turned up to his funeral, including friends from school, soccer and the other sports he loved.

Mrs Bailey said she knew he had been a little bit down three or four weeks before he died and she had organised for him to see someone, but he reassured her he was just having a bad week.

Now Mrs Bailey is calling for the education curriculum to be overhauled to include a thorough foundation in understanding mental illness.

“We spend so many millions on road safety, but how much do we spend on this?” she said.

“If we can get an across the board curriculum for all the schools – I’m not just talking about a few – for mental illness when the children are young – and I'm talking 11-year-olds – then we might be able to save the next generation.

“But we need to start now and then people like my baby will still be here.”

Sam told a friend he didn't want to make his mother worry by talking to her about his problems.

“Kids have to know this – as a parent, you know what? We’d rather worry,” Mrs Bailey said.

“So let’s bring out this awareness, so that if these kids are feeling that way, they get help.

“If you find a lump, you go to the doctor. If you’re on the soccer field and hurt your ankle, you go to a doctor.”

Mrs Bailey said she now worried about Sam’s friends, some who had been at school with him since Year 1.

He had a tight-knit group of mates he used to call his Ohana, a word they learnt from the movie Lilo & Stitch.

“It means family, and it means no-one gets left behind or forgotten,” Mrs Bailey said.

“I think we all have our Ohanas. And we need to save them.”

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