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Behind the Smile, a story of life after loss.


Few people have the drive and dedication of Mitch McPherson. When his younger brother Ty took his own life in 2013, Mitch, a glazier by trade, turned the devastating loss into the successful suicide prevention charity SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY. It is this phenomenal work which lead to his being awarded Tasmania's Young Australian of the Year in 2017.

Since then, Mitch has spoken to over 600 events which include school groups, workplaces and sporting clubs and is dedicated to spreading the message that nothing is so bad that you can’t talk about it.

Mitch’s vision is that SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY will become a national charity, with a focus on delivering programs in schools and sporting clubs around Australia to increase awareness and remove the stigma surrounding mental health.

Talking Points

Behind the Smile - A Story of Grief and Loss

Mitch tells the moving story of his brother’s life and suicide to help others recognise warning signs that there may be a struggle behind someone’s smile. He speaks plainly and simply, connecting to those who need to hear these messages - the young, sportspeople, tradies and more.

It’s a powerful story to hear, and Mitch’s experience shows us all the importance of looking out for those around us. It might even save the life of someone you love.
I have seen Mitch’s presentation on a number of occasions and it never fails to move me. His story is told with authenticity, vulnerability and genuine emotion, but it always leaves the audience feeling hopeful and optimistic. Mitch used a deeply sad personal situation to motivate a movement about hope for the future and looking out for each other. When he tells this story you cannot help but be greatly moved by it. Relationships Australia Tasmania

Thank you so much for coming along last night and telling your story to my team. I know you’ve told it many times, and sometimes you might think gosh I don’t know if this is hitting home with anyone, but as you said, if it’s just one person that you make a difference to, it was worth it. In saying that, last night, when you left, 14 people couldn’t speak. What a powerful, raw, honest talk you held. When you spoke about your mum, I just wanted to find her and give her a hug. What sadness you and your family have gone through, but how proud you should feel that you have found the strength to reach out to people now and help in even the smallest way. I know the impact you left on the team. They will help to spread the word, they will stop and ask their colleagues if they’re ok, they will listen and they will be kind, as they will never forget your story. Thank you seems so small for what you gave us last night. Continue doing what you are doing as you are helping so many


Thank you again for a truly inspiring and ‘challenging’ evening last week. I have no doubt you receive this comment on many occasions, however, I admire your incredible courage and desire to ‘educate’ those you come into contact with in changing our perspective and shifting our understanding of mental health. Everyone I spoke with on Tuesday evening were so taken with your message and willingness to share your experience.

CPA Australia
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