R U OK?
We really want to know. R U Ok? If you are not ok, we would like to hear from you. Please make contact with your doctor today.
Thankfully discussions on mental health are increasingly being brought to public forums and days like R U Ok? Day (13thSeptember 2018) and World Suicide Awareness Day (10th September) are highlighting the impact suicide is having on society.
Over 2,800 people died as a result of suicide in the most recent numbers available in Australia. That statistic is frightening enough, but when you consider thousands more attempt to end their own lives, and hundreds of thousands consider it. And that is before you consider the hundreds of people directly affected by each, individual act of self-harm – friends, family, colleagues, team mates, the list goes on.
Suicide has a very real impact on modern society and we each have a role to play in preventing suicide. The first step is to talk about it.
It’s no secret why Australian’s have struggled to bring this difficult area into the public eye. It’s a hard topic to talk about. Ironic then that talking is the actual thing that is most important in suicide prevention. It’s the first step in helping someone you care about overcome the challenges they are struggling with.
The R U OK? Team are focused on getting people talking and set out some helpful hints on starting the conversation here. If you have noticed a loved one acting differently recently, and your instinct is telling you that something is up, then these steps will help you take the first to getting them help.
Mental health is a complex area. It is not always obvious or easy to identify when someone is affected. The American Psychiatric Association provides the following list of behaviours and changes to look for that may indicate a mental health issue in yourself or in someone else:
Sleep or appetite changes – dramatic sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care
Mood changes – rapid or dramatic shifts in emotions or depressed feelings
Withdrawal – recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
Increased sensitivity – heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations
Illogical thinking – unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meaning or influence events; illogical or ‘magical’ thinking typical of childhood in an adult
Drop in functioning - an unusual drop in functioning at school, work or social activities. For example, quitting sports, a reduction in school performance or difficulty performing familiar tasks
Problems thinking – problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain
Apathy – loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity
Feeling disconnected – a vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality
Nervousness – fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling
Unusual behaviour – odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behaviour
As a community it’s vital we keep the conversation going. This is why days like R U OK? Day are so important. They get people talking about the issue of suicide and help people who may otherwise suffer in silence to open up about their struggle.
Holding an R U OK? event or highlighting it some way at your workplace or in the family is a great way to help spread the message. Check out the tips on how to raise awareness here.
If you or someone you know are struggling, consulting a medical professional is a vital part of the process. Make an appointment today and make your mental health a priority.