Dr Graham Fleming (AM)

Photo Credit: Tim Berry // Taken from website Words by Heather Wiseman

Graham Fleming is a General Practitioner, who came across the issues of suicide and mental illness most acutely whilst working in the small isolated town of Tumby Bay, South Australia. The suicide by hanging of a 15 year old boy in the town was deeply distressing to Graham, as he recounts; “I looked upon it as if it had been my kid and thought it was the most shocking thing… I went out and said we need to get rid of depression, and [if we do,] we’ll get rid of suicide.”

Twenty years on, Graham successfully reduced the number of suicides in Tumby Bay, and went on to write a peer-reviewed thesis to determine whether suicidal behaviour in the Tumby Bay district could be reduced by enhancing and utilising community resources. His thesis received high commendation, and confirmed through rigorous statistical analysis that suicide rates in Tumby Bay had dropped below the national average.