S(MAC)K Talk with Wayne Holdsworth | Suicide Prevention Program for Parents & Teens

Wayne Holdsworth is asking everyone to be a real friend and family member and REALLY listen.​

EDITOR’S NOTE: Warning, this story may be distressing for some readers.

After tragically losing his teenage son Mackenzie (Mac) to suicide in October 2023, Wayne Holdsworth founded a suicide prevention program called S(MAC)K Talk, a not-for-profit company, teaching parents and teens some of the warning signs to look out for.  

Every type of organisation, small, medium or large, can benefit from an education program on really listening and in one free 40 minute session, Wayne or one of his trained facilitators can give you the tools to really listen, and perhaps change the course of someone’s life. 

In an update on 23 April 2024, S(MAC)K Talk reported that in 6 weeks they presented to over 1,000 people with 12 people requesting help – so it’s working.

Testimonial from Grant Harrison, CEO Knox Basketball:

“Last night, we had the privilege of Wayne coming out and delivering his S(MAC)K Talk presentation to our Youth League & NBL1 Teams, coaches, volunteers and KBI staff. We had approx. 70 people in the room and I have to say this was the most impactful presentation I have ever seen.  It is raw, it’s honest, it’s factual and it provides kids and adults with real answers to deal with their own depression or suicidal thoughts and importantly, HOW to ask your mates how they are really going.

I HIGHLY recommend you all get on board and have Wayne come out and present this.   From this meeting, we have already uncovered three people who are struggling themselves and they have reached out to others immediately following the session. This SAVES lives…..!! Well done Wayne….!! “


On 24 October 2023, our 17 year old beautiful boy Mac took his life at home. He normally gets up at 6.30am in the morning. At 7am, I knocked on his door and found him dead. The grief, shock, helplessness and blame knocked me over physically and mentally. I asked him regularly if he was ok, he always responded “I am fine Dad.”

He was not fine and if I had the knowledge and skills that I have now to really listen, the outcome may have been different.
I have now used Mac’s death as a catalyst to do more, and we want to educate every person we can reach to simply be a better listener. The research clearly confirms that real learned listening techniques make a world of difference.

The 40 minute session is free of charge. We will come to you, small groups, big groups, sporting clubs, school groups, business groups – we want to ensure we reduce the epidemic and silent killer that is suicide. 801 people died of suicide in Victoria in 2023 compared to 299 road deaths in the same period in Victoria.

We miss our beautiful boy and together we will change hearts.  

Mac’s Dad – Wayne Holdsworth

Scott Pape, the author of Barefoot Investor, wrote a gut wrenching article which talks more about the events leading up to Mac’s death. He suggests talking to your children about the risks posed by social media and online usage, and having them create a contract to manage their online activities. This is an important read. CLICK HERE TO READ

When you read about Mac’s story and how he became a victim of sextortion the first thing many teens may say is “But I’d never send a nude pic…”  Well, guess what? You don’t even need to these days. Scammers can now create AI-generated fake nude pics and use these to blackmail kids. It makes our blood boil to see what’s happening and the devastation caused by these scum-of-the-earth extortionists. Don’t even get us started on the fact that even when caught they get very little jail time and are back on the streets again in a flash (this is another battle that needs to happen for justice). 

Many experts and recent research points to the necessity to help protect children by increasing the age for social media access to 16 years. There is currently a Change.org petition urging the Australian government to do this. Click here if you would like to sign up and support the petition.

The South Australian government has already announced their push to ban social media access for children under the age of 14 years, with children aged 14 to 15 years needing parental consent. They are currently exploring how this ban can proceed, legally and practically.

You can listen to Wayne tell his story and talk about his mission here:

Book a session with S(MAC)K Talk via their website here

If this story has raised any issues for you, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.

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For more information and all enquiries please visit the S(MAC)K Talk website.

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

Image Source: S(MAC)K Talk


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