When I was about 13 a member of my extended family members suicided. My mother was quite open about it and I can clearly remember her talking to us about it. Mental health issues affect or have affected a number of members of my extended family including my mother. My parents were always quite open with us about this. In my teenage years when my mother had a nervous break down we were told about what was happening and my father asked us to do more to help around the house.
Fast forward a few years to when I was a young adult working in childcare. One of the father’s of some siblings that we cared for suicided. I saw how much this affected these young children at the time. They weren’t really old enough to articulate what they were going through but we saw changes in these children’s behaviour, as they tried to cope with the loss of their Dad.
‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’ is the theme of the 2018 World Suicide Prevention Day, Sept 10. This theme goes with the advice we received at a session on supporting young people through trauma, that I attended earlier this year. The presenters emphasised a number of times that talking about suicide does not cause suicide. It is important to talk to anyone who you think is struggling, ask them if they’re ok, listen to them, offer support & direct them to professionals to get help.
The graphic below gives suggestions for having a conversation. For more information go to the R U OK? website.
So if you know someone who is struggling or have seen some changes in their behaviour please talk to them. Remember we can work together to help prevent suicide.