Content warning: Self-harm and hospitalisation.
It's okay not to be okay . . . trust me, because I learnt this the hard way.
When it comes to asking the important question 'are you okay?' fear can get in the way.
Fear of the response. Fear of our inexperience on the topic of mental health. Fear of appearing to be a stickybeak.
But these concerns don't recognise the relief many people feel after they hear the question.
It takes courage to ask simply and directly, ‘are you okay?’, if concerned about someone's mental health.
What if they’re actually fine? Will they be offended? And what do you do if they aren’t okay?
These are common concerns people have when it comes to asking a friend, colleague or loved one ‘are you okay?’. So it’s tempting to frame the question in a way that encourages a positive response, ‘you’re okay, aren’t you?’
There are few things in the world more frightening than hearing that someone is thinking about suicide.
Even when you know you have done everything possible to support them, it’s natural to feel an unsettling sense of preoccupation and responsibility.
Suicide is a big issue. While it only accounts for a small percentage of deaths (around 1.9%), more people lose their lives to suicide than to road accidents, industrial accidents, and homicides combined. Around 2800 Australians take their own life each year; an average of almost 8 suicides a day.
While suicide awareness and prevention has come a long way over the past decade, many myths still exist.
On RUOK Day we're encouraged to check in with people around us and reduce feelings of distress or loneliness by asking the simple question ‘are you okay?’.
Simple, right? But many people doubt the benefit of this idea. It's a fair question. Is it just a fad? Does it really do any good? Can asking a question really change a life?
Feeling suicidal means feeling more pain than you can cope with at the time. But remember, no problem lasts forever.
With help, you can feel better and keep yourself safe. People get through this. People who feel as badly as you feel now. So get help now. You can survive.
There are things you can do to relieve the pain and reduce the desire to end your life.
Are you concerned someone you know is having thoughts of suicide? This can be a very distressing situation, as many people don’t know how to help.
It's common for people to think that talking about suicide increases the risk. This is not the case. This myth can stop important discussions from taking place.