We’re excited to announce a new ambassador for StandBy Support After Suicide … Tara J Lal, Senior Firefighter, PhD scholar and author of memoir ‘Standing on my Brother’s Shoulders: Making Peace with Grief and Suicide.’
Through her book, Tara speaks of a difficult childhood with her father’s mental health concerns and her mother’s death (when she was 13), and the suicide of her older brother Adam, who tragically took his life four years after the loss of her mother. She speaks of how a ‘conversation’ with Adam (through the diaries he left behind), helped her to find her reason to live.
Now a Senior Fire Fighter, Tara has run the psychological wellbeing program for Fire and Rescue NSW and is trained in suicide prevention. She is a mental health first aid instructor and volunteers her time as part of the peer support team at Fire and Rescue NSW to support firefighters suffering from mental health conditions and in the wake of traumatic incidents.
She is also completing her PhD, which focusses on understanding the impact of exposure to suicide on firefighters both through the tragic suicides they encounter on the job as well as when a fellow firefighter takes their own life. Tara aims to use her research to develop evidence-based suicide preparedness, prevention and postvention programs for firefighters.
Tara is also a professional speaker, regularly sharing her experiences to a wide variety of organisations as a way to create connection and understanding of mental illness and suicide in the community.