A former Illawarra police officer's courage to go public about his suicide attempt has saved the life of a serving cop battling post-traumatic stress disorder.
James spent four days in an induced coma after hanging himself in the backyard of the family home 12 months ago.
He was found by his wife and young children clinically dead. A retired ambulance officer who lived nearby heard the screams for help and rushed to the scene.
James woke in Wollongong Hospital to the realisation of what he had done.
His marriage has since fallen apart and insurance companies Metlife and TAL are locked in dispute over who is liable for his Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance.
This week James told the Mercury that reliving his nightmare had been worth it.
"The support I have received and the positivity which sprung from my story has been amazing," he said.
"In fact I am humbled that one of those officers expressed to me that except for me telling my story and my experiences following my suicide attempt, he would have acted to end his life, as I tried to end mine."
"If telling my story saved a life then the pain of recounting it as honestly as I did makes it more than worthwhile," James said.
"My experiences have led me to believe that ending my life isn't the answer. I remain in the middle of my legal dispute but hope that I can help other officers in my situation to keep the faith and reach out for help when they desperately need it."
James's legal counsel, John Cox, said news that his story saved a life last week was wonderful and showed urgent changes were needed to address the insurance debacle which was keeping sick men and women in a state of limbo.
"That James's emotional, in fact excruciatingly sad, story resonated among the community of former police clients was clear from the response I received and the sense of identification that so many felt," said Mr Cox, who leads Slater and Gordon's police compensation team.
"In my discussions with James it is also clear that although difficult to do, the story had a cathartic effect for him.
"It is important however that the community does not simply let this issue rest given the large number of vulnerable former police still caught up in this system."
For help and counselling: Lifeline 131114; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 65946
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