Ursula Wharton


In this episode I speak with Ursula Wharton, the founder of Deep Listeners .

Ursula shares her personal story about the loss of her son to suicide. As a result of her loss, she created a free community offering called Deep Listeners that aims “to up-skill and empower community members and organisations to be prepared and willing to listen compassionately to each other.”


In this episiode Ursula shares how:
  • she coped with the tragic loss of her son Josh to suicide in September 2017
  • she felt the shame of being a parent that lost a child to suicide
  • a local program ‘Pitch for Change’ allowed her to launch Deep Listeners and realise Josh’s final wish for “love, peace and help[ing] the world”
  • she used her grief to create a positive impact
  • important it is for a community or village to participate in raising children and to support a community with deep listening
  • compassion and listening without judgement are integral in helping and healing
  • loneliness, isolation or alienation can impact on someone’s mental health and how important social connection is
  • you can access some of the upcoming free courses available through Deep Listeners (which I highly recommend for local listeners).

I was alarmed at the daily number of suicides (see statistics below). However, as a result of  talking with Ursula I was left with a sense of hope. I feel we can all benefit from improving our listening skills, which may in turn help someone close to you and prevent them from self harming or harming others. This is why I decided to take part in Deep Listeners Safe Talk half-day training and signed up to do their two-day foundational course.  After an unsettling 2020, I believe deep listeners could provide compassionate support to communities all over the world.

To contact Ursula about the programs she offers through Deep Listeners or to arrange to speak with a Deep Listener call 0487 638 124 (Northern Rivers only)

Deep Listeners Interview Transcript

Ursula Wharton Bio

If this story has raised any issues for you, or you are in immediate danger of harming yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000 or contact one of these outreach services:

Lifeline on 13 11 14
Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
Headspace on 1800 650 890

Suicide statistics

  • Eight Australians die every day from suicide, which is more than double the road toll.
  • 75% of those who take their own life are male.
  • Over 65,000 Australians make a suicide attempt each year.
  • In 2018, 3,046 Australians took their own life.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44.
  • The suicide rate in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is twice that of their non-Indigenous counterparts.
  • People in rural populations are 2 times more likely to die by suicide.
  • LGBTI+ community members experience significantly higher rates of suicide than the rest of the population.
  • up to 135 people are affected, for every life lost to suicide, including family members, work colleagues, friends, first responders at the time of death.
  • Males aged 85 and older experience the highest age-specific rate of suicide.
  • Same-gender attracted Australians are estimated to experience up to 14 times higher rates of attempted suicide than their heterosexual peers.
  • 1 in 4 Australians are lonely and have no-one to speak to.

(Source Lifeline Australia)












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