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RUOK Day 2013 - article 1
The suicide statistics in Australia are shocking. Six Australians die by suicide every day -five of whom are men, according to the latest beyondblue publication 2013 (Hope. Recovery. Resilience. Tackling depression and anxiety from every angle).
The suicide rates are roughly double the Australian road toll and suicide is a complex subject. However, even complex issues can be tackled with some relatively simple initiatives and these initiatives can be guided by some facts we know about suicide.
We know that Mental illness*, especially depression, is present in a high proportion of people who suicide, many of whom are untreated at the time of death. This does not mean that all people who suicide have a mental illness. There are many reasons why people suicide.
We also know that mental illness* is very common. More than 1 million people live with depression and more than 2 million people live with anxiety in Australia. So if we know this, what is one thing all of us in CFA can do to support another member with a mental illness*?
Well, we can connect with them.
We can have regular, meaningful conversations.
Most people struggle from time to time with life and experience mental health problems* even if they don’t experience a mental illness*. For those with a mental illness*, the struggle may be longer, be more intense and require some specialised type of support. Regardless, connection with another person is good for us all.
You don’t have to be an expert to connect with and support someone going through a tough time. You just need to be able to listen to their concerns without judgment and take the time to follow up with them. A conversation is usually started by asking ‘RUOK?’ when you suspect that they’re having a tough time.
CFA will again be participating in the ‘RUOK’ Day in 2013. This year RUOK Day falls on 12 September 2013. You don’t have to wait til until September to ask somebody ‘RUOK?’. We encourage regular, meaningful conversations rather than just a once a year discussion linked to an event.
If you are struggling with life, CFA’s Welfare Services can provide confidential free support. Any
member or family members can access support at any time.
Peer support can be accessed through the Rostered Duty Officer, Office in Charge, Line Manager or the Peer Coordinator
Psychologists/Counsellors can be contacted directly by contacting the Member Assistance Program on 1300 795 711
Chaplains can be contacted directly or by contacting Converge International on 1800 337 068
Welfare services are short term in nature. Members with long term clinical or complex needs will be linked to appropriate services where relevant, such internal services (WorkCover or Volunteer Compensation) and external community based agencies.
Mental Health problems - The Better Health Channel defines ‘mental health problem’ as a broad range of emotional and behavioural difficulties, which will affect most people at some stage in their lives, including: anxiety, irritability, sadness, loss of energy or motivation.
People experiencing these feelings may get through the crisis without needing professional help. However, it is sometimes difficult for people to overcome emotional or behavioural difficulties, and
this may affect their ability to care for themselves or their dependents, to socialise, to work or to study. In these instances, it may be important to seek advice from a professional.
Mental illness - Mental Health Foundation of Australia defines mental illness as a health condition that changes a person’s thinking, feelings, or behaviour (or all three) and that causes the person
distress and difficulty in functioning. As with many diseases, mental illness is severe in some cases and mild in others. Individuals who have a mental illness don’t necessarily look like they are sick, especially if their illness is mild. Other individuals may show more explicit symptoms such as confusion, agitation, or withdrawal. There are many different mental illnesses, including
depression, anxiety, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, substance abuse and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Each illness alters a person’s thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviours in distinct ways.