Death of gifted teen leaves family searching for answers
Greg Heapy lost his little brother to suicide 16 months ago and says not a day goes by when he doesn't miss his best mate.
Colin was a 17-year-old gifted sportsman who was studying for his HSC when he died in April last year.
He was a student at St Joseph's Catholic High School Albion Park, south of Sydney and a stone's throw from Kiama, where seven people have died in as many weeks.
Mr Heapy, who still finds his brother's death debilitating to talk about at times, works tirelessly to educate his community about the impact of suicide.
Colin's death caused an outpouring of support on social media, with cricket and soccer days organised in his honour and Little Lake Bridge at Barrack Point adorned with wreaths and yellow roses.
Mr Heapy wants people to have the tough conversations with their children and believes the education system is failing them.
"Teachers are trained to notice signs of abuse and neglect and to report to DOCS but they should also be trained to see any warning signs of depression and encourage the student to speak to the counsellor," Mr Heapy told The Sunday Telegraph.
"I agree with what the campaign is trying to achieve," he said of the Can We Talk push for mental health first aid training for teachers and more school counsellors.
"I still struggle with the death of my brother," he said. "What is left behind for the family of a suicide victim is an emptiness that will never be filled."
Colin would have been celebrating his 19th birthday on September 21 and his family will be missing him very much.
Mr Heapy said people would never understand because everyone wanted to know "why did he do it?"
Colin was "a very happy boy who never showed signs of not wanting to be here".
"We are not searching for answers of why he left us," Mr Heapy said.
"My family firmly believes that he was a gift from heaven. He was sent here to do a job which was to help others, to spread love, kindness and joy."
Originally published as Death of gifted teen leaves family searching for answers