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in brief: today is world suicide prevention day

Depression-loss_of_loved_one

Over the next month, Australians will be called to action to engage in mental health issues, starting off with World Suicide Prevention Day and R OK Day, and finishing with Mental Health Week in October.

Today (September 10th) is World Suicide Prevention Day.  Why is this important, you may ask?  You might not know anyone who’s committed suicide, but it remains a big problem for youth.  Suicide is currently the leading cause of death for 15-24-year-olds each year in Australia, being responsible for 23.3% of deaths.  This is ahead of car accidents (14%), drugs and poisoning (4.2%), and cancer (2.4%.)

According to headspace, the national youth mental health organisation, there are seven warning signs someone you know could be suicidal.  These are:

1.       Withdrawing from friends and family

2.       Talking about feelings of hopelessness

3.       Persistently angry or sad

4.       Increasingly using drugs or alcohol

5.       Self-harming

6.       Writing or talking about death and suicide

7.       Experiencing mental health problems

If you’re worried about someone you know, then maybe asking them ‘R U OK?’ is the way to go.  This Thursday is R U OK Day.  R U OK Day is a national day of action and is dedicated to reminding people to check in on family and friends.  One simple question can go a long way to opening up a conversation that could save a life.

Finally, Mental Health Week runs from the 6th to the 12th of October.  From its beginnings in 1985, Mental Health Week is a volunteer-driven project to promoting mental health, and eliminating the stigma attached to it.  Check in at the official website over the next couple of weeks to keep in touch about upcoming events and competitions.  If you’re creative and aged between 12 and 25 you should also check out the art competition being run by headspace Elsternwick, which is running till the end of September and will be judged and celebrated during Mental Health Week.

If you, or someone you know, are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.  For more information about headspace, check them out at their official website or on Facebook.

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