EVERY time young Tamworth mum Binny Smith experiences a “life is good” moment, she sends a message to tell the woman who helped save it.
Miss Smith said she was on the brink of suicide about six months ago when a stranger stepped into her life for just a few minutes, showed she cared and helped her go on.
She decided to share her story to give her thanks, and also as a promise to pay it forward and encourage others to do the same.
Miss Smith, 24, went to Tamworth hospital’s emergency department in the winter of 2017.
The mother of four was physically sick with a cold and mentally unwell with depression and anxiety, exacerbated by work-related stress and family problems.
“I was just in a terrible, dark place last year and I literally was at my wits’ end … I felt so irrelevant,” she said.
While waiting to be seen, she had made up her mind to leave when a nurse, Jayne Launt, stopped her.
“After a good few times that I said no, I wanted to go, she made sure that I wasn’t leaving,” Miss Smith said.
She said she felt better after having seen a doctor and a counsellor – but it was a moment of human connection as she left the hospital that made all the difference.
“She must have been waiting for me, and she said, ‘Can I give you a hug?’ and then, ‘Whatever you're going through, it’s going to be OK. You can do this, you’re strong’.
“She was already crying – it blew me away that she knew I needed someone.”
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Miss Smith said the huge impact of that small act really struck her at Christmas.
“She really did save me. I was sitting around with my children at Christmas time … it makes me sick to think that’s how close I was to not being here any more.
“Looking at my children’s faces, I know they’re seeing me make changes, and I realise they do love me, they do want me, they do need me.”
Miss Smith said she was “in a good place now” with the help of her GP and some counselling.
And something as simple as splashing in the pool with her kids brings home how glad she is to still be here.
“Every time I think I’m having a good day and experiencing something really amazing, I’ll message Jayne; every time something really blessed comes into my life – because I very well could not have enjoyed any of that.”
Ms Launt, who now nurses in Coffs Harbour, said she’d been thrilled to hear from Miss Smith, who contacted her through a Facebook post.
“As an ED nurse we often don’t hear how our patients get on and for me, personally, I sometimes wonder,” she said.
“People like Binny make the job worthwhile – ED is a tough gig.”
Ms Launt argued, however, that Miss Smith was the hero of her own story.
“Really it’s all her; I was just there when she needed it.
“Her beautiful story and the fact that she went public on New Year’s Eve has made my 2018 better already.
“If Binny’s story encourages one person to reach out instead of suicide, then I’m very happy she went public.”
Ms Launt said her own children were about Miss Smith’s age, and when she’d seen her in ED, “the motherly thing came out”.
“I just didn’t want anything to happen to someone so beautiful and precious.”
Miss Smith said she felt not many people were “willing to put themselves out there in order to help someone”.
That was part of why she posted to Facebook post seeking Ms Launt to thank her.
That post prompted an outpouring of messages of support and praise for both of the women, and between that and Ms Launt’s caring, Miss Smith said it had been “one of the most positive things to ever happen in [her] life”.
“I know if I see someone looking down, I’m going to think about our situation and do the same,” she said.
“People with depression and anxiety, the last thing they want is to do something about it; it’s so daunting.
“I’ve had loved ones tell me they need me and want me to be here, but to have someone I don’t even know tell me that, still amazes me.
“A lot of people bypass the situation because it’s easy to do; it’s easier to not deal with a situation that’s hard and painful.”