Joshua William Klumper was a 17-year-old boy with a good heart and a keen sense of justice. (That’s not to say he never got up to mischief.)
Josh took his own life on the 5th of September, 2017, just days after abandoning a visit to the Gold Coast University Hospital emergency department to seek help. He was 17 years old.
He had no fear, in a physical sense, from a very early age – always attempting to do things beyond his ability and climbing crazy high places. A quirk of his personality was that he never felt obliged to do what people told him to, no matter what position of authority they had. To him, respect had to be earned. But Josh also cared deeply about others, always counselling and giving kindness to those who needed it. He just wanted the world to be good.
Josh was an ‘aspie’, meaning that he had Asperger’s Syndrome (high functioning autism), which made his everyday life a challenging experience. His sensory processing problems made a lot of normal touch, sound and taste overwhelming and difficult to handle. All the stimulus around him was loud and in his face all the time. Social interactions were really hard for him to understand; subtleties and nuance did not compute in his brain and he had to use his high intelligence to get around a lot of stuff that is inbuilt for most of us.
All of these difficulties plagued Josh 24 hours a day. And on top of them, Josh took on the troubles of the world. Seeing the state of affairs around the world was overwhelming for Josh. He suffered anxiety most of his life and had an ASD ‘meltdown’ every once in a while. In his teens, when the bad outweighed the good in his life, depression hit. And when something really bad happened to him, his meltdowns became suicidal.
Josh had a brilliant intellect, loved to have in-depth philosophical conversations and engineer problem solving inventions. When he was younger, Josh was into Minecraft, BMX and scooters. Then he switched to car and motorbike mechanics. He proved a good worker and showed promise. The world has lost some huge potential with the loss of Josh.
He never meant to hurt anyone when he took his own life. He simply ran out of coping space and felt like he had exhausted all avenues to find the help that would get him through.
An inquest will be held into Josh’s death and from that we are expecting changes to the public mental health system in Queensland that will prevent other people losing their lives in similar circumstances.
Two days before he died, Josh was feeling determined and positive. He wrote the words that have inspired the #JoshsWish movement:
If you’d like to ‘light a candle’ for Josh, watch the funeral or flip through some memories, visit his Heaven Address.