I didn't think I would struggle with this post but I have. It's been quite hard but I'm determined to add my voice to such a good cause.
One draft began mentioning how I completed Lifeline's LivingWorks Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) but that was back in 2006 and I'm sure it's outdated as a lot can change in five years. It should be like First Aid training updated every two years.
One draft began saying how suicide has affected me but really I haven't been as affected as others. Sure I know people who've attempted, people who have considered it as an option and acquaintances who have died. I feel like I've been lucky regarding how little my life has been impacted by suicide, it could be a lot worse and I know that so I don't feel like that would be an appropriate start.
Instead I'm going to begin by stating the facts surrounding suicide. Shocking facts.
Lifeline have reported that more than 2,100 Australian's suicide each year with men four times more likely to die by suicide than females. For each person who suicides there are 30 other people who attempt. Scary stuff indeed.
That's more than 2,100 families deeply affected by suicide each year. Even if each person has impacted two family's life (and let's be honest that isn't hard) that is over 4,200 families affected EACH year. In a five year period that is an astounding 21,000 families affected and impacted by suicide. That's not even counting the 63,000 families affected YEARLY by attempted suicide.
These aren't exaggerated numbers by any means. I wish these were just numbers on a screen but as I type more people are being affected by suicide. People not numbers. Mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, spouses, best friends, neighbours, friends, acquaintances and strangers. Real life people.
Suicide doesn't end when the person ends or attempts to end their life. The impact is felt sometimes through the generations of many families. Wives, husbands, sons, daughters, grandchildren, great grandchildren, cousins, aunts, uncles - all affected and impacted.
To see what the direct impact suicide can have on a family please read Lori's blog, Random Ramblings of a SAHM. Lori's husband tragically ended his life earlier this year and Lori reached out to her online community. I think she is extremely brave in everything she has done. She is saving lives.
Another potential life saver is occurring on September 15th is R U OK? Day. The purpose of R U OK? Day is to connect with your friends, family and colleagues and ask three words 'Are you okay?'. Maybe even ask it again and add another word in too, 'Are you really okay?'. Sit down and hear them, not just listen but HEAR what they have to say. Be there for them.
I'm making it sound so easy but I know it can be so daunting. If you know someone who may not be okay but you don't know how to ask head over to the R U OK? website where they have tips on how to start an R U OK? conversation.
You never know, you could save their life.
If YOU need help right now (and it's OK if you do) please contact any of the relevant numbers below. We all need help sometime, it's having the strength to ask for it that carries us through the rock bottom times.
|Lifeline||24/7 telephone counselling service||13 11 14||www.lifeline.org.au|
|24/7 telephone counselling for people at risk of suicide, carers and bereaved||1300 659 467||http://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au|
|MensLine National||24/7 support for men dealing with relationship and family issues||1300 78 99 78||www.menslineaus.org.au|
|Kids Help Line||24/7 telephone and online counselling for young people 5–25 years||1800 55 1800||www.kidshelp.com.au|
|Reach Out!||Online crisis and mental health information for young people||au.reachout.com|
|SuicideLine Victoria||24/7 telephone counselling for people at risk of suicide, carers and bereaved||1300 651 251||www.crisissupport.org.au/SuicideLine.aspx|
|Telephone Interpreter Service||If English is not your first language please call the Telephone Interpreter Service for assistance contacting a helpline||131 450|
|SANE Australia Helpline||Mental health information, weekdays 9am–5pm||1800 187 263||www.sane.org|
|headspace||Mental health services and support for young people 12–25 years||www.headspace.org.au|
|beyondblue Info Line||Information about depression, anxiety and related disorders||1300 224 636||www.beyondblue.org.au|
|Black Dog Institute||Information about depression and bipolar disorder||www.blackdoginstitute.org.au|