Youth Suicide. Life is difficult. This too shall pass.

the Sit. Blog Youth Suicide. Life is Difficult. This too shall pass. Brody Hurst Mike Sherpa Britton

Youth Suicide

We followed the disappearance of Brody Hurst. Initially, he was a 15-year-old boy who went missing. He had chained his bike on the Northern end of Newport Beach and had not returned home after dusk. His Mom, posting on the Northern Beaches Facebook Page said “it was uncharacteristic of him”.

Yesterday morning I did the boardwalk run from Avalon to Newport. I ran past Brody’s bike. It was still there. I saw a policeman on the beach. I heard the sound of the helicopters, they were still searching. 

Before it was announced in the mainstream media we heard that Brody’s body had been found. We read in the media that the police after initial inquiries “are not treating the matter as suspicious” because Brody suicided. 

Brody suicided……

the Sit Blog Mental Health Youth Suicide. Life is Diffficult. This Too Shall Pass by Mike Britton. Brody Hurst family photo

Photos of Brody on Facebook show a great looking, well built, smiling 15-year-old kid. His father (I assume it’s his dad) has his arm around Brody’s shoulder, who is flanked by his loving mother and younger brother.

Brody, like all men, has his story – his own unique experience of existential pain that I personally believe is experienced by all of us. I say “us” specifically because I am not sure it is unique to men, or that it needs to be gender-specific. 

However, I will talk from my own experience and I will talk as a man. 

I have four children, two boys aged sixteen and eleven, and two girls aged five and eight weeks. 

My eldest son starts year twelve this year, and so yes, my pain and my concern were directed in part toward him. I reminded myself that I must always remember to talk and share. The truth is that I do. We are close, very close. He is probably my best friend and he and I both count ourselves lucky that we can have a relationship as friend and parent. We have coined it “Son Brother Father Friend”.

We express our love for one another, we seek advice from each other, we know how deeply we love and respect each other, I know that he has struggles, as he knows I do too.

Having been involved with men’s work for over ten years, and the wellbeing industry for over twenty-five years, I am personally convinced that (despite what the statistics say) at least four out of five men battle with depression, anxiety, fear, overwhelm, hopelessness, extreme stress, pressure and suicidal thoughts. 

Do I share my thoughts openly? Do I share my struggles openly? Not really. I am fortunate and blessed. I have a best mate (not my son) with whom I can share everything and we have a friendship spanning thirty years. He is a very evolved man. I have incredible teachers, a men’s group, a solid support network, and a wife who has taught me what the word commitment means. 

I have a beautiful home in Avalon and all the trappings of a wonderful life. 

So what!!! 

– and it’s a ‘so what’ for one reason, and that reason is “life is difficult”.

Life is Difficult

When I was in my very early twenties I was blessed to read a book that would change my life because it offered a simple paradigm shift. The book was titled The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck.

In it, he writes “Once we truly know that life is difficult, once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters”.

I remind myself and my son of that lesson, always. 


It has not liberated me, it has not granted me inner peace and serenity. It has not calmed the inner voices. It has not dulled the depression, anxiety, fear, overwhelm, hopelessness, extreme stress, pressure or suicidal thoughts. 

I am just better able to hold them in check. I am able to remind myself that this too shall pass. I am able to gain perspective even if sometimes it takes days or weeks. I am able to cultivate the resilience to handle what life throws at me.

And I fall all the time, and I know that all there is to do is get back on the horse. 

I have an agreement with my wife, and as she calls it, the agreement is “not to do anything stupid”. She shared with me her fear that one morning she is going to walk outside and find me hanging on a tree. I promised her that I will not take my own life without her knowing that it is my intention. There is peace for both of us in that. 

Why I, or my mind, experiences that level of pain is not the story for this share. Sharing it is more indulgent than it is private, and this is not the forum. 

What I do know is the exquisite pain that suicide will take away. What I also know is that in time it will pass and that my suicide would leave others lost, devastated, angry and in pain themselves. 

I have enough perspective to know that it is not fair and it is not the answer. 

Knowing life is difficult, my passion has been to impart that to others, and with it the skills required to manage life. 

The Rugby Analogy

the Sit. Blog Youth Suicide. Life is Difficult. This too shall pass. Brody Hurst Mike Sherpa Britton

I was thinking this morning, reflecting on Brody’s passing, if we accept life is a game, imagine it was a rugby game and a person said, “I would like the kicks, and the passes, and the running but I just don’t want the scrums or the tackles because they hurt” That would not be rugby. That would not be the game. 

This game called being a human being in the 21st century (and for all time to date) has elements that hurt. It is just the way it goes and it is like that from the very beginning. Every meaningful experience has elements of love and elements of pain, that is just the way that it goes, and it is like that whether we like it or not. 

In his book ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, another one of my great mentors (Steven Covey) explains it clearly. He describes the process of farming, and the necessary conditions required to germinate a seed: the seed requires water, fertilised soil, and sunlight, at the right time, in the right way, whether we like it or not. 

Brody’s passing is devastating. It is devastating for him but perhaps more devastating to his family. The hole left by his death may be too much to bear.

I don’t claim to know or judge his pain, all I can say is that we as men, as human beings, must learn to nurture our resilience and accept that life is difficult. Then, we must deal with that difficulty moment by moment, knowing that it will do two things. 

One, it will teach us something – and two, it will pass.