YOU CAN SIT WITH ME is proud to be a partner with RUOK. RUOK Day September 10, 2020
With RUOK DAY being our national day of action where we remind everyone that every day is the day to ask RUOK we focus on the increasing problem of depression and suicide amongst our children.
This year has been a difficult one for most and more than ever we need to all stay connected and support those around us that need it. This year’s message is ‘There’s more to say after R U OK?’ http://ruok.org.au/join-r-u-ok-day.
Children, Depression & Suicide
A recent National Youth Week survey conducted by headspace revealed that 70 per cent of students aged between 17 and 25 years, rated their mental health as poor or fair in the last 12 months. Some 83 per cent felt stressed, 55 per cent reported trouble sleeping, 79 per cent were feeling anxious, while 35 per cent indicated thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, young people are also less likely than any other age group to seek help, however a Mission Australia survey found around eight in 10 young men and women would go to friends for help.
About 350 young people aged 15–24 take their own lives every year – for every youth suicide, there are 100 to 200 more attempts. Young people are especially at risk.
Having depression or another mental health condition is one of the most common risk factors for suicide. Other things that put young people at risk include:
- previous suicide attempts
- exam/HSC stress or parent pressure to perform well at exams
- problems with family or romantic relationships
- being bullied
- having access to potentially harmful medications or weapons
- having a physical illness or disability
- being gay, lesbian, bisexual, gender-diverse or an intersex person
- being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian
Young people are protected from attempting suicide if they are resilient and have positive relationships with parents or guardians, close friends and other adults. Helping young people feel safe, supported and part of the community are important ways to protect them from suicide.
Never ignore the warning signs that a young person may be thinking about suicide. Common warning signs, behaviours and feelings include:
- feeling hopeless
- feeling worthless
- feeling alone, like no-one understands
- showing a drastic change in mood or behaviour
- being aggressive and irritable
- talking about dying a lot, or making arrangements for when they are dead
- possessing weapons, sharp objects or medication
- self-harming (such as cutting their skin)
- doing risky things
- using a lot of alcohol or illicit drugs
The young person might lose interest in their friends or social activities. They may seem to stop caring about other people or events. School or work performance might suffer, and they might get into trouble with the police or even run away. They might also have problems sleeping. While it’s important not to ignore these signs, sometimes there is no indication that a person is thinking of suicide.
What to do
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Talking and listening allows a young person to open up about what they’re going through and take the first steps towards getting help. If you are with a young person who is thinking about suicide, don’t leave them alone. Make sure they don’t have access to things that they could harm themselves with, including sharp objects, drugs, weapons, medications or a car.
Don’t promise to keep it a secret – they need professional help. Let them know you will support them. Get them to promise they will always tell you or another adult if they are feeling like this again.
A young person at risk of suicide needs to see a qualified mental health professional. With the right treatment and support, their situation can improve. The first step is to see a doctor for a mental health assessment. There are many different treatment options.
You can also develop a suicide safety plan. This will help the young person go through a series of steps for when they are feeling suicidal. Beyond Now is an easy-to-use suicide safety planning app for smartphones. You can download it from Beyond Blue.
Where to get help