Vale Shane Scanlan

Vale Shane Scanlan
Shane Wylie

I started writing this month’s column with a very targeted focus on mental health. I personally lost my best friend to suicide last year.

COVID lockdowns took her to a place she simply couldn’t see herself recovering from and that was her answer. I was with her in hospital after the first attempt but couldn’t save her from the second and final. If I ever want a good and proper cry, I can just look at her final note – “Sorry Shane, I just can’t anymore, I love you, goodbye”.

Just as I was drafting this I’ve learnt of the passing of Shane Scanlan, founder of the Docklands News and staunch advocate for this precinct. Others are better positioned to write memoriams of Shane and I’ll gratefully respect that, but what it does lead me to – and this was the origin of this column – is the awful toll this crisis is taking on mental health and it’s simply not being addressed.

We have decision makers clearly pushing down the wrong path and not being held accountable. The Chamber very rarely speaks politically but this issue needs addressing and while we’re not a political powerhouse we are on the ground. If I hear one more business owner tell me they are at breaking point, or one more good friend tell me they need help I’m going to break down and just cry. Well … just did.

I walked past the vaccination hub at the Convention Centre today seeing hundreds of people turned away because they hadn’t booked. Vaccination is the ultimate control to this virus and Australia, one of the world’s most advanced countries, is turning willing people away, telling them to book on the phone, which is offline, or that they are too young to have it yet. We should literally just be having nurses trawl down the wait lines, ID, jab, thanks, next. We have 30,000 people a day turning up to be tested, why aren’t they being vaccinated at the same time? We are behind Laos, Palestine (in the middle of a war), Belarus, Moldova, Panama, Ecuador, Kazakhstan and just about every other country in terms of completed vaccinations and our lockdowns are taking lives – suicide, domestic violence, addictions.

Can we please have a leader stand up and say enough is enough? Fast forward this, make it happen, the public want to see the end of this. We’d literally line up at Marvel Stadium with our shirts rolled up and take a thrown dart to the shoulder if it meant the end of lockdowns and the end of the untold number of deaths due to mental health.

Goodbye Shane •

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