Leesa Mountford

Leesa’s Lived Experience Story

I was your ordinary-every-day Mum to three beautiful children; Joshua (Josh), Taylor and Mackenzie, but in April 2021 my world was immediately flipped (that’s an understatement) on its head and my heart was shattered. I had instantly entered a completely new world when I had received the heartbreaking news that my son, Joshua had taken his life. I went from a happy and content life to a shattered woman overnight.

I grieve every day for the loss of my beautiful boy, and I continue to have questions I want to ask but know that I will never get the answers for. My heart breaks every time I think about how my two daughters, Taylor and Mackenzie, are entering the prime of their lives grieving for the loss of their brother. Throughout all the turmoil, my family and friends have been an amazing support mechanism, especially my daughters who I am so very proud of.

Life is different for me now; I was a successful Public Servant at an executive leadership level looking to build my way up the corporate ladder, but fast-forward to now and I am heading in the opposite direction. I am currently studying and any spare time I get I spend with family and friends – either dining out or getting together to enjoy each other’s company, but I’ll plan my entire social life around the South Sydney Rabbitoh’s draw so I can watch the game on TV. I no longer read, but enjoy watching a good TV series. I’m not much of a cook and never plan to be. And the biggest change? I have started a business in Josh’s honour called “I Got You” Apparel.

While sorting through some of Josh’s personal belongings I came across a handwritten note by him saying “I Got You’’. These three small words have such a deep meaning, and most people (I’m sure) can relate to these words. I’m sure it means something different to everyone, but to me, it’s about telling someone that you’re there for them whenever they need it – in their darkest hour or brightest moment.

It is this very note that sparked the idea for I Got You; to print Josh’s powerful handwritten message on apparel to be worn proudly to create engagement with others; friends, family, strangers, anyone, and everyone to let them know they’re supported and have the conversations that are so needed, and in return to promote men’s mental-ill health and raise awareness of suicide prevention.

The loss of my son, Josh has been greater than any amount of words can describe, but I choose to keep smiling and look for the positives in my not-so-ordinary life.