Toni and Karen Reeve remember their daughter Kylie at Picnic Point, Maroochydore.
Toni and Karen Reeve remember their daughter Kylie at Picnic Point, Maroochydore. Jason Dougherty

Loss of a beloved daughter

Behind the smoke and the smell of sizzling sausages at the Noosa Outlook shopping centre in St Andrews Drive this Saturday morning will lie the searing pain of a family, which despite its best efforts, could not stop depression claiming the life of their daughter.

The Kylie Foundation is not a fan club for an ageing pop diva, but Karen and Tony Reeve’s heart-felt response to losing their 34-year-old daughter.

On the March 13, 2005, Kylie Hooymans, a once-vibrant mother of two, shut herself away in her Oakwood Close home in Tewantin and committed suicide.

At Maroochydore Coroner’s Court in July the next year a mother’s tears flowed, as Karen hoped the examination of Kylie’s plight might provide the answers so that “no other families will have to go through this hell for a lifetime like we will”.

The issue back then was why Kylie had been assessed at the Nambour General Hospital’s mental health unit while suffering ongoing depressive bouts, but not admitted.

Coroner Ken Taylor examined the practice of allowing nurses rather than doctors, make the judgement call on whether to admit a person for in-house psychiatric care and claims that bed shortages might deny the professional care available in the unit.

Kylie had until the previous year been a fun-loving person, who had suffered sudden weight loss and eventually had become delusional, aggressive to those around her, and more and more withdrawn.

Concerns were raised by the family about the arm’s length treatment of Kylie, including medication dosages decided by a doctor after talking to their daughter over the phone rather than face-to-face consultation.

Mr Taylor found no fault in this case.

“I am satisfied that each of the health care providers who attended to Kylie did so in a dedicated and professional manner, and that both the assessment and the treatment program prescribed, including management at home, conformed with accepted orthodox practice,” the coroner ruled.

Mr Taylor’s main suggestion was to recommend Queensland Health provide local brochures in future to patients or families detailing the mental health services available as a guide to the “most appropriate service for their needs”.

This well meaning advice has done nothing to dull the hurt and ease the questions for the Reeves five years on.

At Suicide Bereavement Remembrance Day this year, Karen told the Noosa News what it is like to try and cope with such a loss.

“We had a perfect family and that crumbled in a moment,” Karen said in September.

“Since she died, every day has been hard and nothing will ever be the same. It’s like you’ve got a hole in your heart..”

The Reeves said afterwards they had felt guilt and only after some time realised there had been signals they wish they could have picked up on.

Just before she took her life, Kylie gave possessions away to friends saying she no longer needed them, while telling Karen she was feeling better.

The Kylie Foundation was set up by Tony and Karen to help ensure the United Synergies StandBy Response Service support for people bereaved by suicide will continue.

Their dream is that no other family has to endure their pain.

“By speaking about our experience and spreading awareness we’re doing something to help others.”

All funds raised from the event from 9am to noon, put on by Noosa Outlook Hot Bread and Patisserie with Adam Neilson’s Prestige Meats, will be donated to this cause to help others cope in the most testing of times.

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