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My Nana turned 100 on Sunday 13 October 2013. Did you know that made her a Centenarian? And yes, she got a letter from the Queen, the Governor General, The Prime Minister and the Victorian Premier. I had the privilege of being the Master of Ceremonies at the event, attended by some hundred plus people from all areas of her life!
It was a great celebration of her life, as well as, noting her matriarchy of four generations.
Prior to the event I was seeking to make sense of an email message to her that I had received from one of her many nephews. Fortunately one of my Mum’s first cousins rang about some other details of the celebration and I asked him for clarity on the topic of my confusion. During and related to that conversation I asked about how one of his uncles had died. His response,
Oh, he committed suicide but we don’t talk about it.”
For those of you who know me well or have heard me speak this year you’ll probably be able to predict my response. My first response was to suggest that maybe if more people did speak about the causes, signs and symptoms of suicide then those who don’t feel there is any other option might be spotted sooner, feel less alone and know that there are other ways to move past the horrendous feelings they are experiencing. His response this time,
The second offer was about the way we speak about suicide by saying that someone “committed suicide”. This language comes from a time when it was both illegal and a sin to ‘suicide’. It was an ‘act that you committed illegally’. That is not the case any longer in Australia. 6 people die by suicide every day in Australia. That’s 1 every 4 hours. That’s WAY MORE than are killed on our roads annually.
So much work is being done in the background to address these issues. But until EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US know the signs and symptoms of depression and at the very least know how to and actually have a conversation with someone who can help us help a person in need these people will go on dying unnecessarily. Each and every one of us will know someone who is suffering a mood disorder whether we are aware of it or not.
We don’t need to talk about it all day, everyday. We do need to be able to talk about it openly and comfortably with each other. 6 Australians every 24 hours is 6 too many. ZERO, that’s my aspirational number.
How can I help you, and those you know, get more comfortable talking openly about the signs, symptoms and experiences of mood disorders?
Because your Mind Health Matters…