Country Australians are twice as likely to take their own life than their metro counterparts. This World Suicide Prevention Day, we all have role to play – embracing our collective responsibility, championing hope and taking meaningful actions to save lives.
“We’re helping young people to grow, so conversations need to start at home.
The mental health check-ins around my kitchen table are free of judgement. Like the flu, mental and emotional health should be prioritised,” Shana, Portfolio Manager – Mental Health said.
As a clinician, parent, sister and mother Shana has a role to play and isn’t shy about expressing her emotions and makes sure her kids feel safe to do the same.
“In Australia, 8.6 Australians die every day by suicide and is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44. I work in regional mental health so I understand the importance of checking in.”
Sitting across from Shana at a round table discussion about World Suicide Prevention Day, is Jason Eggins, Centre Manager – headspace Bathurst and Scott McLennan, Clinical Team Lead. Men who work with other men – collectively playing a role to reduce stigma and encourage help seeking behaviour.
“75% of those who die by suicide are male, men tend to put a front on for a long time and showing vulnerability can sometimes be scary,” Scott said.
“headspace is an early intervention support service but we also have an open-door policy so the team work with appropriate services to coordinate care. There can be many barriers for people accessing services and they shouldn’t have to handle it alone – that’s where we come in,” Jason said.
Like Shana, Jason is many things – a son, uncle and dad. He has found when working with young people, and their families, that family collaboration is very important when helping an individual who may be experiencing poor mental health.
“One session that really resonated with me was when a father and son sat together, shared a tear or two and described feeling safe, supported and comfortable in being able to express themselves and their emotions openly. This opportunity to share one’s vulnerabilities reinforced to me that headspace can truly be a safe space for everyone. It’s a place that can help support our community’s young people when they may need a bit of help along the way,” Jason said.
Scott shared similar anecdotes across the table, both men smiling and nodding as they delved deep into young people’s mental health and the important work they are doing in country Australia.
“We strive to make suicide and help seeking behaviour not a taboo topic. One aspect of my role is outreaching to six local schools – all who participated in a 4–6-week program. These weekly visits covered a range of topics including managing anxiety, self-care and the importance of accessing help if you’re struggling. It was a great success,” Scott said.
This Suicide Prevention Day, we all have a role to play. If you or a loved one are expressing signs of poor mental health such as not enjoying the things you normally would, increased drug and alcohol use, mood changes or being irritable – help is available.