Defence Family Matters : May 2017
28 INTHESPOTLIGHT 28 LIFE BEYOND NOW BEYONDBLUE It is NOT ALWAYS EASY to raise SUICIDE in CONVERSATION or to ask someone if they are thinking about it, but don’t let that stop you. E very day, more than eight Australians take their lives. These deaths are devastating for the families and friends left behind. “Starting a simple conversation around this complex issue could be the first step in averting a crisis and encouraging a loved one, friend or colleague to reconnect and find hope and support,” said beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman. The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that 3027 people took their own lives in 2015 and three out of four of those people were men. Men aged 40 to 54 were at greatest risk, representing almost a third of male suicides that year. “You don’t have to be a mental health professional to be able to help someone through a suicidal crisis,” said Georgie. “It’s about empathy. When someone is suicidal, they have lost hope. They don’t see their value or that they are loved. “If you can distract someone who is having suicidal thoughts, even for a minute, it may de-escalate the situation and help them find the strength to regain control.” Among beyondblue’s suicide prevention resources is BeyondNow—a free smartphone app and website that teaches users how to create a suicide safety plan. The app lets the user, ideally supported by a health professional and trusted friend or family member, create their suicide safety plan and keep it close for reference when they experience suicidal thoughts. Having a safety plan on a mobile phone means it can be taken anywhere that person goes—in a bag or pocket—and can be accessed any time and shared easily with others. The app was developed by beyondblue and Monash University, with funding from the Movember Foundation, and is free to download from the App Store or Google Play store. n www.beyondblue.org.au/ beyond-now IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT SOMEONE OR FEEL THEY ARE AT IMMEDIATE RISK OF SUICIDE, CALL TRIPLE 000. BEYONDBLUE’S SUPPORT LINE IS OPEN 24/7 ON 1300 22 46 36 OR CONTACT THE ALL-HOURS DEFENCE FAMILY HELPLINE ON 1800 624 608 FOR ADVICE AND REFERRAL. “YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL TO BE ABLE TO HELP SOMEONE THROUGH A SUICIDAL CRISIS.” BeyondNow is a free smartphone app and website. Photo used with permission.