HomeHealthMental HealthThe positive ripple effect

The positive ripple effect

More than 2500 deaths are recorded as suicide in Australia each year, along with an estimated 65,000 suicide attempts taking place. In Australia, suicide is consistently the leading cause of death for males and females aged 15–44. However, it is also not widely known that the 80-plus age group in men is the bracket in which suicides occur by far at the highest rate. Any one of us touched by suicide knows only too well that each of these deaths is a heartbreak that has a devastating ripple effect across our families and communities.

But, there is hope. Whether as individuals, communities or organisations, we can work contribute to a positive ripple effect when it comes to suicide prevention. We can all play our part in reducing the burden of suicide in this country.

10 September is World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? Day

Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) CEO Sue Murray says, “This is a day where we shine the light on suicide prevention across the globe, as well as look closer to home at how we can each play our part. In Australia, seven people every day take their own lives. We all need to do as much as we can to prevent feelings of loneliness and isolation occurring in the people around us. Having regular and meaningful conversations is something we can all do to help create a stronger, more resilient community.”

What can you do?

1. Ask R U OK?
If you’re worried about someone and think they have been acting out of character lately, you need to confront it head on and ask the question. A great resource to help you articulate questions or start a conversation is conversationsmatter.com.au. It’s not only has one-to-one conversation tips, but also tips for talking in groups and to children.

2. Listen without judgment
Let them talk and don’t be too quick to fill silences or suggest solutions. Listen with an open heart and open mind.

3. Encourage action
Ask them what they think might help them to find their way out of how they’re feeling. Work on a plan of action together such as scheduling a visit to their GP or making a call to a support line to speak to a health professional. Educate yourself on the support that’s available in your area and nationally. Some help-seeking information (phone and online) support available 24/7 includes Lifeline 13 11 14 (www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp), Suicide Callback Service 1300 659 467 (www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au), MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 and Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800. You don’t have to be suicidal to use one of these services. and if you’re worried about someone, you can call these services to talk about your concerns as well.

4. Follow up
Check in with them regularly. People from Suicide Prevention’s Lived Experience Network say that often it is not the first counsellor or doctor that they connect with but the second, third or fourth. Your loved one may need your support to keep trying to find what (or who) is right for them.

Last but certainly not least, take care of yourself. A collection of resilient individuals equals a resilient community who is informed on how to give help and get help. You may find SPA’s Guide to Self-Care useful when thinking through how you can exercise self-care. 


YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writershttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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