Tragedy underlines need for research into mental illness

Life cut short: Darcy Bond taking part in last year's Michael Tynan Challenge. Picture: supplied
Life cut short: Darcy Bond taking part in last year's Michael Tynan Challenge. Picture: supplied

The death of a young motor industry employee has provided extra motivation for the fifth annual Michael Tynan Challenge, which raises funds for medical research.

Darcy Bond, 22, who worked in the Tynan Motors marketing department, took his own life two months ago.

Mr Bond's family and work colleagues believe he made an impulsive decision while under the influence of recreational drugs.

They will walk in his memory at the the Challenge to be held on Saturday, while raising awareness and helping to raise funds for research into mental illness.

Participants will wear a yellow wristband with the message, "Our Bond will live on".

Mr Bond lived at Kiama, where there has been a spate of suicides involving young people. Recent cases in Sydney include one at Cronulla.

Recreational drugs can be very harmful, especially if you are in a mental state that makes you vulnerable.

Madeline Tynan

Tynan Motors director Madeline Tynan said Mr Bond was "larger than life, a real dynamo, with a promising life ahead".

He had a secure job and was finishing a Commerce degree at the University of Wollongong.

Ms Tynan said the people closest to him believed he would not have made the decision he did had he not been affected by recreational drugs.

"We are raising awareness recreational drugs can be very harmful, especially if you are in a mental state that makes you vulnerable," she said.

Every dollar raised in this year's Michael Tynan Challenge will help mental health research being undertaken by the St George & Sutherland Medical Research Foundation and The University of Wollongong (UOW) Medical Research.

The main event will be a 26 kilometre walk on the Coast Track.

Another option is a "virtual challenge" in which participants walk, run, ride or swim at their own pace 30 kilometres during October.

There is also a Drive & Scooter Challenge involving driving or riding to the South Coast and also helping fire affected communities by filling an empty Esky with local produce and goods.

Police, hospital staff and firefighters are getting behind the event with former Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione urging the community to support their efforts.

Anyone needing support can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.