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In an age of previously unseen stress and pressure facing our young people, death by suicide is occurring at an alarming rate – shattering lives and communities who are left with an empty void and a life full of unanswered questions. But few people talk about it.
Connect Health & Community’s Manager of Family, Youth and Children’s services is working to create a community where our young people are encouraged to talk about the pressures in their lives before the build-up becomes too much.
“Every day, 8 people in Australia take their own lives and for every death by suicide, there are an additional 63,000 attempts. To me that’s 63,000 reasons to start talking openly about this preventable cause of death and help those among us who are suffering in silence until the pain gets too much,” said Ms Edwards.
“How can we begin to combat the issue of suicide if we can’t even talk openly about it? How can we expect our young people to seek help, if they don’t feel safe to express their distress?” she asked.
Despite an 11 year career in family community services, it was not until Kirstie’s son’s peer group was shattered by the deaths by suicide of his two classmates, that she experienced first-hand the inadequacies of support and understanding for those left behind by, or even actively contemplating, the scourge of suicide.
“Our community lost two very precious young lives - but it was hushed. Not just private hushed, but closed and hidden because our community didn’t know how to give it words. Those two young people – a daughter, a son, a brother, a sister, grandchild, nephew, niece and friend, ended their lives because it was the only foreseeable way they could see to erase the pain of life,” she said.
“I wonder if it would have been different for them if they lived in a community, a state, a country where we openly talked about suicide for what it is – a state of unashamed distress that warrants unashamed medical crisis response, treatment and ongoing community support. The lives of our children, and anyone else under mental distress, are too precious to not try change perceptions and understanding,” she said.
“If we can make people feel more comfortable talking about suicide, and reduce the stigma associated with suicide and mental health stress, we hope our young people will be better able to navigate their personal stresses and seek assistance before their pain becomes too much,” she said.
Connect Health & Community offers a range of support and counselling services for young people in our community. We also partner with the National Youth Mental Health Foundation, headspace, who offers a comprehensive range of information and resources for young people seeking to explore support online, first.
Of course, looking up information on the web is a great first step in seeking help, but when you really need to talk to a friendly understanding ear, Connect Health & Community is here to help. Contact us today.
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