Joseph Mateo Memorial Court

By Karina Robson

A community in the Orange suburb of Glenroi were left shaken, after one young resident took his life.

Joseph Mateo was a 19 year old boy who loved basketball and now his friends and family are looking to raise awareness through the thing he loved to do most- basketball.

Loved ones of Joseph Mateo successfully rallied together and lobbied the Orange Council to have his local basketball court re-named as the Joseph Mateo Memorial Court.

Manager for Headspace Orange Alison Logan says the re-naming of the court is a great way to bring a conversation about mental health into the community.

“The death of Joseph certainly impacted our community and we saw it here at Headspace. So I think anything that brings about conversation for mental wellbeing in the community is a great thing.”

Death by suicide in Australia occur among males at a rate three times faster than for females. The stigma of males appearing weak for seeking help has contributed greatly to this issue. 

Ms Logan says unfortunately though, there is still a stigma around men coming forward and seeking help.

Ms Logan says despite this, Orange Headspace receive a lot of attention from young men in the community.

The national average for male death by suicide continues to be devastating, equaling nearly double the national road toll, each year.

Joseph’s mother, Leanna Mateo, told the ABC she hoped the family had done their part in spreading awareness and helping other young men like her son come forward and seek help.

“Don’t let stigma of mental health or just a difficult time in your life shut you off from people that care because life is important, suicide is preventable and my son’s suicide could have been prevented.”- Leanne Mateo.

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