Clayton tried to take his own life four times. The fifth time – in 2019 – Clayton died.
Thankfully, the quick-thinking actions of a police officer brought the Adelaide man back to life.
Clayton spent the next two months in hospital learning how to speak. While lying in his hospital bed, he decided it was time to turn his struggle with mental health into something positive for himself and others.
Connecting with AnglicareSA’s Suicide Prevention Service, Clayton worked with case coordinator Stuart and brought together his passion for motorbikes and his new mission in life – mental health. And so, the Six Brothers Social Motorcycle Club was formed.
“The name Six Brothers is significant because, on average, six Australian men die from suicide each day,” Clayton says.
“And I know that that number is going up, which is a sad thing.
“I guess it just went from there. I was hoping that people would join me and they did. It’s not something I ever thought I’d do because I’m not much of a public bloke – but I love it now.”
In a short time, the club has grown to 20 riding members and another 20 auxiliary members who help behind the scenes. Members range in age from 18 through to 70 and come from all works of life with the club offering them a safe space and community to be open about their own mental health struggles.
“Six Brothers helps (our members) massively because they were like me – they were hidden away in their bedrooms and in a dark place, not doing much.
“They saw me come out and talk about it and it helped them realise there are other blokes that do struggle with mental health and the club gave them a purpose.”
It’s helped Clayton too.
“You feel relief when you speak about it,” he says. “We’re all like-minded blokes and we’ve been through something similar so if we can sit down, talk about it every now and then, then it’s a bit of weight lifted off the shoulders.”
The club hosted a Suicide Prevention Run last year with a raffle, prizes and other donations to raise money to support the AnglicareSA program that helped Clayton change his life. Clayton recently presented $2000 to his case coordinator Stuart.
AnglicareSA’s Suicide Prevention Service is a free program providing practical and emotional support to individuals and families following a suicide attempt. Individuals and families are offered three months of intensive support through home visits and telephone contact.
Stuart says he was thrilled to accept the recent donation on behalf of AnglicareSA, particularly seeing Clayton succeeding in his mission.
“When I was working with Clayton this was a talking point,” Stuart says. “This was a dream that he just started, so to see this get bigger and bigger over time, and to see what he can do with it, is pretty incredible.
“To know that you’re a support person and you can keep someone focused and can keep them driven to do that when things get difficult is really a privilege to be a part of.”
The donation from Six Brothers SMC is critical to supporting the work of the Suicide Prevention program with donations put back into the program to assist clients.
“At a fundamental level, part of it is helping people that aren’t in financially strong situations and so these donations can go into something as simple as buying someone shoes so they can play basketball, or school clothes for kids, or school bags.
“It can be used to assist people with second-hand furniture, or it can go into things like ‘Hope Boxes’ where you can put together strategies that people can use to de-escalate themselves and use for emotional support.
“Being able to see what comes from our work as well, working with clients, seeing what they go on to do, the things they achieve and the growth that they develop is the really the core of the program.”