Neighbours star Madeleine West reveals private family tragedy and how the devastating NSW floods left her dealing with traumatic memories
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 Geff, my cousin. He gladly served his nation, yet he returned from Afghanistan traumatized. His battle with mental illness eventually led to his suicide at the age of 25.
‘I worked with members of our Defence Force yesterday, cleaning up around Lismore, and witnessed them being abused,’ she continued.
‘Our community is great; I understand that people are furious and frustrated, but it is critical to remember that everyone in uniform is also a person.
Memories: The 44-year-old shared a photo of Geff in uniform alongside a long caption. ‘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,’ she wrote
Many people are going above and beyond their job duties to help move the recovery along. The influence on service personnel’s mental health has been discussed by Chief Superintendent Patterson.
‘Remember that beneath the uniform is a mother, a father, a sister, a daughter, a brother, a son – someone who is loved and doing the best job they can.’
‘We’re all under duress, and we’ve been betrayed.’ However, kindness may go a long way in such a trying time.’
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 helping to clean up after the disastrous floods in NSW.
She made an emotive plea for additional volunteers to help in the aftermath of the devastating floods earlier this month.
The actress broke down numerous times while making her brief message in a video shot in the wreckage-strewn streets of Lismore’s CBD.
Help: Madeleine has been active in the clean up following the devastating NSW floods
‘It’s terrible, terrible, terrible,’ she continued. ‘I’m at a loss for words to explain the grief.’
Everything in the regional city was ‘destroyed, shattered, or washed away,’ according to West, who lives in the Byron Bay suburb of Suffolk Park, approximately 45 minutes away.
Countless towns in Northern NSW and Queensland were flooded this month, causing cleanup delays in some regions that were still inundated.