Madeleine West has revealed she lost her soldier cousin Geff to suicide and seeing army personnel ‘abused’ during the flood clean up triggered those memories. In an emotional Instagram post on Sunday, the 44-year-old shared a photo of Geff in uniform alongside a long caption.
‘I never thought I would speak openly about this, but today I will’ the former Neighbours star wrote. ‘This is my cousin Geff. He proudly served his country, returning from Afghanistan with deep trauma. His war with mental health ultimately led to him taking his own life at just 25’.
‘Our community is incredible, I know people are angry and upset, but it is important to remember that everyone in uniform, is a person too. ‘And many are going above and beyond their job descriptions to move this recovery into a better space. Chief Superintendent Patterson has commented on the impact of this on the mental health of service personnel.
‘Please remember that underneath the uniform there is a mother, a father, a sister, a daughter, a brother, a son someone loved, who is doing the best job they can do. ‘We are all under pressure, We have been let down. But In such a traumatic time, kindness can go a long way.’
She went on: ‘Yesterday, cleaning up around Lismore, I worked alongside members of our Defence Force and witnessed them being abused. Our community is incredible, I know people are angry and upset, but it is important to remember that everyone in uniform, is a person too’
‘Please remember that underneath the uniform there is a mother, a father, a sister, a daughter, a brother, a son someone loved, who is doing the best job they can do’ she said .Madeleine has been active in the cleanup following the devastating NSW floods. Earlier this month she made an emotional appeal for more volunteers to help in the wake of the floods which have wreaked havoc.
Posting a video filmed in the wreckage strewn streets of Lismore’s CBD, the star broke down several times as she made her brief message. ‘Its really, really bad,’ she said ‘I don’t know how to describe the devastation’
West, who lives in the Byron Bay suburb of Suffolk Park about 45 minutes from the area, said everything in the regional city was ‘destroyed, smashed or washed away.’Countless towns in Northern NSW and Queensland were left devastated by catastrophic floods this month, with the clean up delayed in some areas that remained submerged.