There you are on your morning commute to work waiting for the 7:43am peak hour city train from your suburban train station and as per usual all the seats are already taken except one of the priority seats…. you know the ones people are supposed to give up to the elderly, pregnant or physically in need of a seat.
You make a b-line for it, as you sit down you notice the person boarding the train behind you is on crutches and has their foot in a cast. Immediately your sympathetic conscious kicks in, you hop up and offer the seat to them in which they are very much appreciative for. Any way the two of you get chatting and you ask them how they sustained the injury, in which they proceed to tell you about their trail running accident and how they broke their ankle. This conversation goes on for the rest of the commute into the city in with you have asked every question imaginable around how the recovery process is going, what they are doing for rehab and when do they think they will be out of the cast.
Now I know what you are thinking… Wow I must have been in a really caring mood that day! But it’s not an unthinkable scenario right.
Now imagine that person had a mental heath illness instead…. say anxiety or depression. Would you even be able to tell? If you knew this person would you even be as inclined to talk to them about it or support them where needed. Would you cast judgment or criticize? Would you even think to yourself “They’ll get over it”. Or even avoid the situation all together.
We wouldn’t define or judge a person and their health because of a broken ankle so why would be less accepting or someone with mental health issues?
Globally on average a male dies by suicide every minute of every day – movember.com and female suicide globally is more like 2 minutes on average. – World Health Organization That’s quite a sobering fact given that up until recent years as a society we have always been more open to addressing our physical health in a public domain than our mental health. Regardless of what gender or what mental health issue someone is suffering, it can be a very lonely place and not everything is straightforward or can be logically addressed.
But there are plenty of things we as a community can do as a whole to help people with mental health issues, for starters being accepting of where they are in space is a good start and being welcoming to conversations from someone who has an issue and show your support can make a lot of difference in bridging the gap. Just remember though that you are not a mental health expert and helping them find the right help and support can be the best thing you do.
R U OK?’s Website states the following when you suspect that someone you know is suffering – “Got a feeling that someone you know or care about it isn’t behaving as they normally would? Perhaps they seem out of sorts? More agitated or withdrawn? Or they’re just not themselves. Trust that gut instinct and act on it.
By starting a conversation and commenting on the changes you’ve noticed, you could help that family member, friend or workmate open up. If they say they are not ok, you can follow our conversation steps to show them they’re supported and help them find strategies to better manage the load. If they are ok, that person will know you’re someone who cares enough to ask.”
Check out their video below on how to ask and if you would like more information on how to ask someone if they are ok you can visit their website here.
If you need to speak with someone immediately, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
If life is in danger, call 000 or go directly to emergency services.
On average globally 60 men will take their lives through suicide every hour
A conversation could change a life
One in five Australians between the age of 16 – 85 experience a mental illness in any year
This November I will be participating in the Move for Movember challenge where in recognition of the 60 men that take their lives on average globally every hour, I be running 60 kms over the month of November to raise awareness and fundraising for men’s suicide prevention. On top of that I’ll be sporting an extremely dirty moustache in the spirit of Movember.
If you would like to donate to this worthy cause you can click the link below.
Lets break the stigma of mental health!