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Federated Farmers chief executive Terry Copeland lost his sister to suicide in 2016 and said mental health could impact on the whole family.
''My sister died in May 2016. It was the third attempt and she had been self-harming and she had a whole range of mental health issues.
''For my parents, it was really tough and they got worn out by the whole process and trying to help her.''
As his parents were battling their own health concerns, Mr Copeland had to step up to be his sister's lead carer, he said.
''Medication helped for a long time, but even people who are being treated in the system are not necessarily any less at risk.''
Supporting a family member struggling with mental health could severely impact on the wellbeing of other family members, he said.
When faced with grief, following a suicide, he said the biggest issue was guilt: ''What more could I have done?''
It was not always obvious when someone was struggling with mental health.
''If there's bullying you can see it, but often with mental health there is no obvious trigger.
''But treatment is so good these days, we can help them through if they just accept it, and the community and friends need to rally round.''
Having lived through the experience of supporting a family member with mental health issues, Mr Copeland said he raised the subject whenever he could.
''I try to talk about it as much as I can to remove it from being a taboo subject.
''My sister's case was complicated, as there were a number of issues, but for depression there is a way forward to be a contributing member of society and to manage it.''
Mr Copeland said he recommended carers build their own support network.
''Having someone you can talk to is really important, as it takes its toll.
''Having people who are doing small things or sharing your load and the struggles and strains makes it easier to get through on a day-to-day basis.''
-By David Hill
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