R U OK? Day – Combat sports saved Shantelle Thompson’s life


By Maddison Jeffery

Thursday September 14 is R U OK? Day, and it’s the perfect opportunity to take some time to check in on your family, partners, kids, friends, colleagues and yourself. R U OK? is a mental health and suicide prevention initiative that aims to empower us to meaningfully connect with and offer support to those around us.


In 2009 after giving birth to twins, Shantelle Thompson survived a suicide attempt.

She said she had been to the depths of despair and had severe sleep deprivation, she could no longer keep it together.

“I developed severe post-natal depression and after a suicide attempt I finally admitted to myself, my partner and my sister that I was actually really sick,” Thompson said.

“I was having visions of hurting the twins and quite graphic images at the time,”

Through panic and shock Thompson immediately took herself to a Doctor, where a new matter presented itself.

“There was an incident at the doctors where she saw on my file that I was indigenous and wanted to call Child Protection Services to do a welfare check on my children,” she said.

“On the way home, I had these thoughts running through my head, if I’m a risk to my children and now obviously someone else thinks I’m a serious risk – maybe I’m better off not being here.”

As the thoughts escalated, she entered an intersection into oncoming traffic.

Thankfully, a moment of clarity stopped her – It was there a love for combat sports grew.

“I didn’t feel it [medication] was the right choice for me, so I decided to start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to see if that would help as a form of physical therapy,” she said.

“I literally started it to save my life and fell in love with it.”

Fast forward eight years, Thompson is a Jiu Jitsu world champion and an Australian wrestler making a bid for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“I’ve kept fighting because I now no longer need to fight, it’s a way of life.”


Those needing help can contact beyondblue or Lifeline on 13 11 14

PODCAST Gold Coast Gold Ep 16 - Shantelle Thompson

Thompson shares her remarkable story of triumph over mental illness and what she is doing to help the next generation overcome trauma.



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