What we learn through overcoming adversity.
Alarmed by the high incidence of youth suicide in Australia, youth services coordinator Michael Colling has compiled a collection of stories to address one of the key issues impacting on young people - isolation.
He writes: 'Australia has for a long time, had alarmingly high suicide rates. Isolation plays a key factor in a lot off these unnecessary and untimely deaths - not necessarily geographic isolation, but rather the sense that you are the only one going through what you are going through.'
As the editor of 'The Other Side of Blue', Michael aims to show us that at some point in our lives, we will all face tragedy, misfortune or hardship, but most importantly, that we all have the resilience to be able to get through tough times.
'There is nothing lonelier than feeling like you are the only one. By telling the stories of others who have overcome adversity, 'The Other Side of Blue' aims to let people know that, whatever the case may be, you are not the only one. Support is out there' he says.
In this honest and courageous collection, twenty Australians, from urban, rural and remote areas and aged in their twenties and thirties, share their stories about the tough times in their lives and how they got through.
The contributions span many daunting and complex challenges: from surviving childhood sexual abuse, to family breakdowns, 'coming out' adoption, bullying, domestic violence, depression, recovery from severe injury, racism, and coping with the death of a loved one.
Michael says: 'One of the aims of this project was to create something that offers a greater awareness of some of these difficult issues that many of us face, no matter who we are, an din doing so, tackle the stigmas often associated with these hardships.'
While the majority of stories are from everyday people, well-known personalities Jess Hardy, former Big Brother housemate, Olympic hurdler Kyle van der Kuyp, and Chris Cheney, lead singer of The Living End also share their struggles.
'Each contributor to the book discusses a challenging time in their lives, and also how they coped during this time. Not all coping strategies were positive, but whether good or bad each writer was able to move on with their lives.'
The inspiring stories of 'The Other Side of Blue' show us that we are not alone and in fact, we all have the capacity and the strength to make it through.
Michael Colling is a Melbourne based youth services coordinator who has worked extensively with young people as they battle to deal with life's difficulties. He is the founder of Schools Out! Youth Consultants, which facilitates life-skills program for young people on a national level and is committed to providing messages of hope. In 2005 he co-hosted the 'Nova's All Ears' radio special for NOVA100 FM, which dealt with youth suicide and depression and received an ACRA (Australian Commercial Radio Award).
A share of the royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Inspire Foundation.
The Other Side of Blue
Edited by Michael Colling