Last week I went to the Suicide Prevention Forum held in Perth, Western Australia by One Life and LifeLine.
Now this isn’t my usual kind of blog and really not a whole lot to do with coaching. However, the topic of suicide is one that is extremely close to my heart and one that is not talked about anywhere near enough due to the “stigma.” To be blunt, I say fuck the stigma – it’s NOT ok to not talk about it.
I learned some alarming facts at the forum. A big part of the work I do is within mental health – but the more pointy end, people with schizophrenia, severe depression, post traumatic stress disorder, bipolar and a lot of the personality disorders. The people I come into contact with often lead very chaotic lives and are suicidal a lot of the time. So this is something I see around me a lot, which can sometimes skew my perception of the commonality of certain things.
But what I didn’t realise is that 6 people suicide every day in Australia. For every suicide, there are approximately 30 serious attempts to end a life. Did you know that suicide is the leading cause of death in Australian men under the age of 44? And that 2500 die by suicide in Australia every year? That is bigger than the road toll rate and homicide rate put together.
This is just astounding to me, because the road toll figures are reported on daily – and flashing in neon lights on the freeway for all to see. So why isn’t suicide talked about?
I am sorry to say that I have not just encountered suicide in a professional capacity. I have been fortunate enough to assist many individuals through suicide ideation and towards their hopes and dreams for the future. But I have also lost a best mate to suicide, another friend the following year, my brother tried three extremely serious attempts that very nearly ended his life (am happy to say he is now blissfully happy!), and my ex also made a serious attempt.
It’s hard to put into words the impact this can have on your life as a family. But with such a huge amount of people suiciding, it is likely that you, or someone you know has been impacted by suicide. To me, even one suicide is too many. We really need to stop treading on eggshells around this topic, because it isn’t helpful.
If you see someone is upset, or hasn’t been themselves lately, I am asking you please to just ask them a simple question – are you ok? You never know what they may disclose. It’s not ok to not check in with people who aren’t ok. A simple act of kindness could make all the difference to that person at that particular time.
I know from my own experience with depression that there were times when people said totally the wrong thing (like having a go at me for not putting the bin out every week when it was a struggle for me just to get out of bed every day), and there were many times when they said the right thing – are you ok? Or even not saying anything at all, but just giving me a hug. I am lucky enough to know that feelings are temporary and I knew then that no matter how crappy I felt, I would get better, Some people aren’t so lucky and have never even know what it is like to feel happiness.
So please, open up that doorway, reach out your hand, offer a smile or a cup of tea, and hug it out. Encourage them to talk about it, get the help they need, and support them through it.
And please, please share this post.
Let’s get people to refocus – on LIFE as an option, rather than death.
Are you ready to stop struggling through life? Are you sick of feeling like you’re stuck in survival mode? Come and join my other members who are also on their journey From Surviving To Thriving.
If you’re in need of some assistance and would like to talk to someone in confidence, contact LifeLine on 13 11 14 (Australia) or www.lifeline.org.au. Also check out One Life Gatekeeper for training on the prevention of suicide – https://www.onelifegatekeeper.com.au/