Dragun’s mum hopeful of change

The mother of newsreader Charmaine Dragun says she hopes recommended changes in mental health care will mean her daughter “has not died in vain”.


Estelle Dragun was speaking outside Glebe Coroner’s Court in Sydney on Friday after a coroner handed down his findings at the inquest into her daughter’s death.

Deputy state coroner Malcolm MacPherson found the talented newsreader, 29, committed suicide by jumping off The Gap in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on November 2, 2007.

He said the suicide of the Network Ten newsreader was probably preventable if she had been correctly diagnosed as having a bipolar disorder rather than depression.

Mrs Dragun said it had been very emotional morning but a “very fruitful one”.

She said “we can all learn” from the coroner’s investigation and “we can all make a difference”.

“Hopefully the medical profession will read and take in the findings and we will see a difference in medical health care,” she said.

“My daughter then has not died in vain.” Asked to describe her daughter, she said she was “beautiful, bubbly and the most caring and wonderful daughter anyone could have”.

Charmaine Dragun’s long-term love, Simon Struthers – whom she was planning to marry on her 30th birthday – told reporters the inquest had provided a positive outcome to help other people.

“I think even if it goes some way to even just raising a bit of awareness and started people talking about it in the community, that is a start,” he said.

He said people have to realise the issue of mental health should be talked about openly.

Asked what advice he had for people in Charmaine’s mental health position, Mr Struthers said he urged them to talk to their friends and families who, would be with them “every step of the way”.