The 10th of Oct each year is World Mental Health Day. It is a day for mental health awareness and education, for those who may have an mental illness and for those who know someone who has.

In Australia there is still much stigma surrounding mental health. We continually see and hear misrepresentations in the media and through conversation about people suffering a mental illness. Words such as 'crazy', 'lunatic', 'hopeless', 'loony' and 'maniac' can be thrown around without much thought to the damage they inflict on peoples lives.

In reality, a person with a mental illness can lead a normal and productive life with the right treatment and the right support from those around them. These people are our friends, family and work colleagues and play an important part in our lives.

This year, World Mental Health Day is focusing on suicide prevention. Every 40 seconds someone takes their own life making it a principal cause of death for those between 15 and 29 years of age. It seems to be a taboo subject but getting people to talk about it will help people identify possible risk factors so they can be addressed. While there are many reasons why someone would want to commit suicide, it is preventable.

The list below from the Beyond Blue website can be indicators that someone may be suicidal.

Non verbal;

  • social withdrawal
  • a persistent drop in mood
  • disinterest in maintaining personal hygiene or appearance
  • uncharacteristically reckless behaviour
  • poor diet changes, rapid weight changes
  • being distracted
  • anger
  • insomnia
  • alcohol or drug abuse
  • giving away sentimental or expensive possessions

Indirect verbal expression;

  • hopelessness
  • failing to see a future
  • believing they are a burden to others
  • saying they feel worthless or alone
  • talking about their death or wanting to die.

Preventing suicide at work. For employees and employers. (Provided by the World Health Organisation).

Personal testimony from a suicide survivor

 If you are feel that you are struggling, please seek help from a medical professional. A simple start could be arranging an appointment to see your local GP. You can also talk to those closest to you so they understand what you are going through.

You can also use the resources below for crisis support.

  • Lifeline Hotline -  131114, 24 hour a day, 7 days a week.
  • Suicide Callback Service - 1300 659 467, Free professional counselling 24 hour a day, 7 days a week.

Beyond Now is an app developed in collaboration with Beyond Blue, Monash University and people who have dealt with suicide. This app helps people develop a safety plan to help when they are vulnerable. Just search for "Beyond Now suicide safety plan" in your Play Store or App Store or you can use the online version HERE