The parents of a young Tasmanian farmer have remembered their daughter as someone whose “sense of humour, infectious laugh, and captivating smile will live on in our hearts and memories forever”.
- Caitlyn Loane had almost 59,000 followers on her TikTok account, sharing posts about her life on the land
- The 19-year-old took her own life this week, days after posting to the social platform
- Mental health advocates urge people to take time to speak to their friends and family
Nineteen-year-old Caitlyn Loane, who took her own life earlier this week, was known among the north-west community as a “beautiful young lady” who “departed our lives too soon”.
Friends and family of Ms Loane took to social media, posting tributes like “your wings may feel broken for now but they will heal with the love that surrounds you” and “you, darling, will always be the sun poking through the clouds on a rainy day”.
Ms Loane had gained a following on the social media platform TikTok, where she made videos to promote women working in agriculture.
The videos showed her feeding out hay bales, drenching sheep, driving a range of machinery, and ear-tagging calves.
Her last video, just days before her death, received over 270,000 views.
One of her fans took to social media, writing: “I did not know you personally, but you touched the hearts of everyone who was lucky enough to hear your laugh and watch your videos inspiring other young aspiring women in Australian agriculture.”
The Devonport Football Club released a statement passing on its condolences to the friends and family of the former player of the Senior Women’s team.
“The priority of the Devonport Football Club at present is to provide an empathetic, supportive network to all associated with the club, with particular focus on those most affected by the tragic passing of Caitlyn.”
‘Things will be OK, eventually’
The CEO of Rural Alive and Well, Barb Walters, said sometimes people needed to have “tough conversations” around mental health.
“Be mindful that for young people, as well, everything that happens on social media, that’s their reality,” she said.
“So, it’s about helping young people know that there is also the other reality. Put your phone down for a little while … smell the roses.”
Ms Walters said many young people were disconnected from society and used social media as their connection platform.
“But they’re probably not having real meaningful conversations and sharing their problem.
“For young people at the moment there is that sense of hopelessness, and we’re finding that more and more because they haven’t got that big-world picture that those of us who’ve been around for a little longer can see, that things will be OK, eventually.”
Ms Walters said cattle sales and sports clubs were once social hubs for rural communities.
But as these become less common or more centralised, people in a rural setting can feel isolated.
“There is also that stoic nature, that, ‘It’ll be right’ or, ‘We look after our problems ourselves’.
Clinical psychologist and CEO for Smiling Mind, Addie Wootten, said the not-for-profit looked to support Australians to take a proactive approach to their mental health.
She said people could feel a whole range of emotions after the death of a loved one, especially loss and sadness.
“Sometimes we have a tendency to push these really difficult experiences aside and try and distract kids or move on and talk about different topics.”
“If they are ever feeling any of these types of emotions, it’s really important to talk about it sooner rather than later.
“Don’t bottle it in.”