Liz Frazer often stumbles over the words when she gets to talking about her parents.
The 31-year-old likes to recount funny stories about her mum and dad and has a "fantastic photo collection" of holidays shared with her three big brothers.
"I treasure those pictures - even the ones I can't remember," the Wangaratta-raised resident says.
Liz remembers a house full of people, food and noise in the weeks after her father took his life.
She was 13.
She knew her dad had served in Vietnam and had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - "it wasn't hidden from me" - but she didn't really know what that meant.
His death "was a significant shock to the system", Liz says.
But it was to shatter her already fragile mother.
Once the obligatory flowers and food petered out, the young girl observed that the acceptance and support for her mum waned among extended family and friends.
"There was no sustained presence," Liz recalls.
"It wasn't out of malice - people just didn't know what to say, they felt awkward, there was shuffling eyes and quick exits."
Liz described how for the next seven years "my dear Mum fought tooth and bloody nail against her grief, surviving a number of her own suicide attempts, trying desperately to recover and move forward but never truly finding peace".
Living alone with her troubled, severely depressed mum was "pretty awful" for a young girl entering her formative teenage years.
"Because my brothers had left home, it was extremely tough and I was acutely aware of Mum being unwell," Liz admits.
Then when she was 18, a male friend from high school took his life after finishing year 12.
"To the best of everyone's knowledge he was well so his death came without warning, without explanation," Liz says.
Three weeks after she turned 20, suicide came knocking again and the world stopped turning.
"Mum had received great private psychiatric care for years because Dad had been in the defence force," Liz explains.
"When things reached breaking point, we would hit the big red button and Mum would go off for treatment, return and things would be almost back to normal for a while.
"When we did lose her, Mum's behaviour had seemed quite OK ... we missed it this time."
Liz was to meet Beechworth's Lisa Cartledge at an Alpine Valleys community leadership program in 2013.
Little was she to suspect the tragic parallels of their lives.
Lisa had lost an uncle to suicide in the 1970s and then her father took his life in 1986, just shy of her 18th birthday.
The suffocating grief of the next 30 years was to explode when suicide devastatingly staked its claim a third time.
The loss of her beloved husband Sean in 2014 - father to their three children - was to catapult Lisa on a mission to shatter the stigma of suicide.
In 2018, with daughter Olivia by her side, Lisa set off on a 700-kilometre walk from Beechworth to Sydney Harbour Bridge, where Sean had proposed to her.
The aim of the inaugural B2B event, as it has now been dubbed, was to walk and talk with people and communities along the way in a bid to stamp out shame and raise awareness of mental health.
This year, she has rallied communities closer to home with the three-day B2B walk from Beechworth to Bright.
About 50 walkers set off on Thursday and up to 90 people are expected to join Lisa for the final leg to Bright on Saturday.
Liz, who now lives with her partner at Glenrowan, had her sneakers at the ready to join Lisa in a campaign that is breaking down barriers ... one step at a time.
"I really do believe we're getting there," says Liz who works for the State Emergency Services and is involved in volunteer work.
"A change of culture in society in best reflected in what youth are doing.
"I see young people now who are comfortable saying, 'Sometimes I suffer with anxiety but I manage that with my doctor'.
"It is making a difference."
- To follow the B2B walk or find out more visit the Facebook page
- If you or anyone you know needs help call Lifeline: 131 114
SYSTEM IN CRISIS
Mentally ill Victorians are being let down by an acute care system starved of funding, short of staff and operating in constant crisis mode, Victoria's Auditor-General says.
In a scathing report, Auditor-General Andrew Greaves told Fairfax the Department of Health and Human Services understood the extent of the problem but had no clear plan to fix it.
"Until the system has the capacity to operate in more than just crisis mode, DHHS cannot expect to be able to make meaningful improvements to clinical care models or the mental health of the Victorian population," Mr Greaves said.
It could be expected some of these failures may be addressed locally with this week's announcement of a significant federal government funding commitment to mental health services in Albury-Wodonga.
A $12 million mental health rehabilitation unit to be established at Wodonga hospital will be announced by Victorian Liberal Senator Jane Hume in Thursday's federal budget and won't depend on the Morrison government being re-elected.
The Wodonga-based "sub acute" mental health service will ultimately complement a long-awaited upgrade of Nolan House at Albury hospital.
Meanwhile Mr Greaves said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews should not wait for the Royal Commission into Mental Health to conclude before taking steps to repair the system.
"Further delay will only amplify the problems the commission seeks to address," he wrote in a report tabled in State Parliament.
By 2015-16, Victoria was spending just $197 per person on mental health services, compared with a national average of $226.
Forty-five per cent of Victorians experience mental illness in their lifetime.
The number of acute care beds in the state must be increased by 80 per cent in the next 10 years.