Feature Article Document PlanningKickerShane Mitchell was a Essay

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Shane Mitchell was a father who’s wellbeing existed in a very delicate balance. All it took was one freak accident -> * freak accident is the wrong term to use here.


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(write something about how life can punch you in the face when you least expect it)

It’s no surprise that being a parent is tough work. Not only do you have to care for yourself, but you also have to look after and protect your children.

But no matter how prepared you are as a parent, life can still knock you down when you least expect it.


Shane Mitchell was a husband and father of two children, including Jenny, his two year old daughter. During a normal day at work he received an urgent call telling him that his daughter was hurt. He rushed home immediately to discover that his daughter had been hit by a train and killed. What followed for Shane was probably the worst five years of his life, as his mental health spiralled downhill until he was at his absolute worst.

At that point, it was hard for Shane to believe there would be any chance of getting back up.

Pre change event (what their life looked like & identifying risk and protective factors)

Husband and a father of two children

Good mental health before the incident, family, work, friends, well balanced life

Financially secure

He felt like as a father he carried the responsibility of looking after his family

“My life was my kids.”

Before the accident, Shane had a well balanced life. Like any father, he felt like he carried the responsibility of looking after his family, and for him, things were going really well. They owned a house, were financially secure, and lived next to his wife’s parents, who would often babysit their two children.

Shane had a very close relationship with his family. Pretty much everything he did

“My life was my kids”

Even though it seemed

The change event (what happened?)

He was at work, and his kids were at the in-laws

He got a phone call saying to hurry because she was hurt

He found out that his daughter had been hit by a train, and killed

One day, while he was at work, Shane received a phone call telling him to come home, and that his daughter was hurt. He rushed home, and was told the horrible truth: his daughter had been killed by a train.

Effects of change (how did this affect their lives?)

Even though he grew up in the community, it didn’t help

“No one really knew what to do; Having a two year old that got hit by a train.”

The community blamed him for the death of his daughter – saying things like “You shouldn’t be alive” didn’t help at all

He cared for his family so much that he didn’t look after his own mental health

“You’ve almost got to put your own feelings aside, to try and help them, but then you can’t help them because you’re messed up yourself.”

It wasn’t long after the incident before the rest of the world moved on

“The world gets three months down the track and they carry on.”

Even after getting over the grief, guilt was a feeling that he just couldn’t wash away

He turned to drugs and alcohol as a way of coping with the guilt

5 years down the track, fully depressed, thought life wasn’t worth living and wanted to take his own life

His life went downhill to the point where he was living on the streets

Post change event recovery (how did they manage the change?)

Someone invited him to a christian outreach and he was introduced to Christianity

He has been christian for 16 years, giving him a new positive outlook on life

Strategies to minimise current risk factors and/or maintain protective factors

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