Speak Up About Mental Health

Thorpe-and-ParkinsonYears ago when Mark Pollard and I were working on The Perfect Gift for a Man, we felt like we were doing something important – encouraging people, men in particular – to speak up, write and share their stories. And it wasn’t just the fact that young men commit suicide at more than three times the rate of women of the same age – nor even the severe impact that depression is having on young people – that was staggering. It was the way that people and stories came out of the woodwork once we asked.

Stories are a powerful way of connecting – but they do need to find a space in which to be told. Vibewire’s recent “Serial Issue” on Mental Wellbeing unearthed some great stories, showcased some new technologies and revealed surprising statistics about mental health in Australia.

And Ian Thorpe’s interview with Michael Parkinson last night was a great step forward in the conversation about mental health. As Jonathan Nicholas, CEO of ReachOut.com says, “The positive impact that will result from Ian’s eloquent discussion of his struggles will be felt by young people right around the country today.”

But making sure this impact continues to build momentum, there are some things that you can do:

  1. Share this ReachOut.com fact sheet on coming out
  2. Post this information about self-help for Depression
  3. Email these stress strategies to young people you know
  4. Talk about bullying with your family tonight
  5. Call at least 1 young person you know today and remind them that they’re loved

In addition, if there are young people you know going through tough times, please let them know that help exists:

  1. For a safe and anonymous online service there’s ReachOut.com
  2. For face to face counselling there’s headspace
  3. For telephone support there’s Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 & Lifeline 13 11 14

And remember, speak up about mental health. It’s hard for it to stay hidden when it’s discussed in the light of day.

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