R U OK? Day Special: Talking About Suicide and Mental Health
Talking about suicide
In this podcast episode, I’m addressing the significance of “R U OK? Day,” which falls on September 14th. This day serves as a reminder to discuss mental health and suicide prevention. I talk briefly about the history of R U OK? Day and its transformation into a vital social movement dedicated to preventing suicides.
Throughout the episode, I share some statistics related to suicide in Australia and the importance of sensitive language when discussing this topic. I debunk some common myths about suicide, such as the misconception that people who talk about it are merely seeking attention. I also stress that suicides often come with warning signs, and they can affect anyone, not just those with diagnosed mental illnesses.
Here are four essential tips for engaging in conversations about suicide:
- Direct Communication: Approach someone you suspect may be struggling with suicidal thoughts with clear and direct questions. Ask if they’re having thoughts of ending their life. Avoid vague or judgmental language.
- Provide Support: If the person admits to having suicidal thoughts, work together to keep them safe. Connect them with appropriate professional help, such as a GP or a suicide hotline.
- Follow Up: After initial contact with professional help, check in with the individual. Show that you care and want to support them through their journey.
Normalise Conversations: Encourage open discussions about mental health and suicide prevention. Seek out resources and training programs to improve your communication skills in this crucial area.
Remember that your support as a compassionate friend can make a significant difference. Suicide knows no boundaries, and the more comfortable we become with these conversations, the better equipped we are to help those in need.
For additional resources and training programs, please refer to the links and information provided below.
Suicide knows no boundaries. It’s up to all of us to look out for those we care about and start a conversation that could change a life.