Lifeline WA ambassador and motivational speaker Alison Braun struggled with her weight for much of her life.
But in 2008, she set out to change that as a contestant on reality show The Biggest Loser.
Alison lost 55kg and finished second overall, but it was the lessons she learned in the process that made the biggest impact on her life.
“Being placed in a position and pushed out of my comfort zone on a daily basis, I discovered strengths within myself I never knew existed,” she says.
“I discovered I was mentally stronger than I ever realised, disciplined and extremely competitive.”
It should have been the start of a wonderful new chapter for her young family, however, six months later while preparing to film an advertisement in the eastern states, she received the news that her husband Bob had taken his own life.
She still remembers the call that changed her world.
“It was my Mum, I could hear such distress in her voice,” she recalls.
“As I stood in my hotel room on the other side of the country all I could hear were the screams of my son and the cries of my two little girls. I couldn’t be there to hold them, to comfort them and tell them it’s going to be OK.”
It took all of Alison’s new strength to endure this loss and be there for her children as a single parent.
“I had really no idea what to do at that point, how I was going to do everything,” she says.
“I made a conscious decision that I wanted to be a role model to my kids and the community.”
In 2008, suicide was a taboo subject and there was a stigma associated with mental health and suicide. Alison was determined to make sure her children would never feel their dad’s illness was a shameful act.
Alison was given a platform within the media and through public speaking and set out to use this opportunity to break down stereotypes, shame and the taboo around mental health and suicide.
Today, Alison continues to inspire her family and many others as an advocate for mental health and a positive voice in the community.
In supporting Lifeline WA, Alison hopes to prevent other families receiving the sort of call she did, by encouraging people who struggling to call Lifeline for help in times of crisis.
Alison believes if her husband had just reached out for help that day, her children would still have their father with them today.