In the 10 years since their sister Mary died, brothers Jack and Henri Baker have watched their parents Annette and Stuart work tirelessly to help stem the tide of suicide and campaign relentlessly for a better mental health system.
The grief of losing their beloved sister and daughter to suicide when she was just 15, has washed over each of them in distinctive but equally devastating ways.
It has often been in or near the water where they have found solace and support - in friends, sporting team-mates and the wider Border community. From swimming to water polo, paddling and the Albury-Wodonga Big Splash, water has been a galvanising force, keeping lives flowing in the wake of unimaginable anguish.
So it should have come as no surprise that Stuart would agree to embark on a dangerous ocean paddle with his mate Matt Flower to raise funds for this year's Winter Solstice. And while the Bass Strait crossing has been temporarily paused while they wait for safer weather conditions, Jack and Henri reflect on the dedication and courage of their dad, their hero ...
"Nine years ago I completed a 42-kilometre canoe race with my dad, Stuart, in far north Queensland.
I was absolutely spent by the end of it and there's no way known I would have been able to back it up the next day.
So spare a though for him and his paddling partner, Matt Flower, who have been in the middle of the Bass Strait attempting to paddle from mainland Australia to Tasmania.
On one leg they paddled more than 60 kilometres without the luxury of being even remotely close to dry land and with a sea kayak packed with enough food, water and camping equipment to last them the duration of their journey.
If you can appreciate the gruelling nature of their endeavour then please appreciate it's a mere shadow of the battle people who suffer mental ill-health go through on a daily basis.
It's for this reason Dad and Matt are attempting the crossing - to raise money for two organisations whose aim is to reduce stigma around suicide and to create better mental health outcomes for all Australians.
With two legs remaining of their crossing it would be great if they reached the Tasmanian shoreline with at least $20,000 for their efforts.
... And if you've read this far you should know that Matt Flower and his paddling partner, Amy Peters, won the race I competed in and in record time.
Dad is in very good company.
"I could not be more proud of Dad and Matt for what they have taken on in embarking on the Bass Strait crossing.
To put themselves on the line in the name of mental health is downright inspiring and I feel that the nature of the challenge has in itself continued to contribute to making conversations around suicide and mental health more approachable.
Having been based outside of Albury since Mary's death, I feel that I've watched a marked change in the stigma around suicide and mental health in the Border region; this has been through events like the Winter Solstice, the Big Splash and community driven movements such as the Butterfly campaign to push for an Albury-Wodonga headspace.
Perhaps watching from afar makes it more noticeable, but I certainly feel the region is setting a standard in this space.
I haven't always been able to successfully convey to my Melbourne colleagues and friends how impactful I feel the work Mum and Dad do in the mental health space but the Bass Strait crossing has opened up conversations with a range of people I wouldn't have usually been confident in broaching the topic of suicide and mental health with."
"The death of Mary, in 2011, left a void that at the time, and for years afterwards, felt impossible to fill. Time helps with healing as does life, eventually crawling back to distract you with its day-to-day trivialities.
For our parents, though, throwing themselves into creating a better, more educated and more understanding community in the suicide and mental health space has helped navigate the void that is the death of a child.
I can safely say that being in a sea kayak in the middle of the Bass Strait with a sound mental state would be less daunting than trying to find the right help when you're mentally fragile and alone.Jack Baker
It's no surprise to me that Dad, with the guidance and support of Matt, decided to undertake a challenge of this magnitude.
He has completed countless gruelling sporting events in his life and, while this is right at the top of the list, it's not necessarily more physically demanding than the others.
What sets it apart is the fact that if something were to go wrong, in the open ocean, there's no safety net.
This harsh reality sums up the cause he and Matt are paddling for.
People are dying every day due to a health system that is not equipped to help them.
I can safely say being in a sea kayak in the middle of the Bass Strait with a sound mental state would be less daunting than trying to find the right help when you're mentally fragile and alone.
The dangerous nature of their journey and the fact we can follow along at home (thanks to the tracker in their boat), has given this fundraiser a following it might not otherwise have had.
I have had friends I haven't spoken to in ages message me to ask what it's all about and to request the link to follow Dad and Matt's boat.
I myself have checked in on their position each night before I go to bed and my head feels that much lighter on the pillow when I see they've made landfall when I check it again in the early hours of the morning.
But the journey isn't over yet and the most difficult and dangerous leg is still to come.
Here's hoping it's a safe one.
- How you can support the paddle - visit www.australiansformentalhealth.org.au/donate and to find out how the Paddle For Survivors campaign will help others go to www.survivorsofsuicide.org.au/
- To follow the journey go to Survivors of Suicide & Friends/Winter Solstice on Facebook
- If you need help, call Lifeline 13 11 14