Please stay: Suicide Prevention in Australia

Please-Stay-Suicide-Prevention-in-Australia

Following World Suicide Prevention Day and RUOK? Day, we wanted to shine a light on the work being done around suicide prevention in Australia.

Last week we listed nine great resources you can use to learn more about WSPD, and this week we are grateful to share this article published by Warcry magazine.

Please Stay

Do struggle with mental illness, or have you thought about suicide?” As I stood at the back of the school auditorium, hands popped up all over the building. I watched the kids open their eyes, and you could see the shock on their faces—the look when they realised they weren’t the only ones struggling.

I was visiting a group of school students with a mental health organisation, and even though I knew this class of 16-year-olds would reflect the numbers—that one in four of them would experience mental health issues—seeing it firsthand leaves you breathless.

I have encountered this scenario many times, and it never gets any easier. There is no simple solution, but speaking to someone who is struggling always starts with the simple admission, “You are not alone”, and the recognition that God will always meet us in our brokenness.

The process continues by handing over a list of resources—perhaps the number of Lifeline and the details of a local church—and it builds momentum when the brave individual walks through the doorway to a counsellor and enters recovery in a healthy community.

On the ground, this is what it takes to combat the suicide crisis rippling through Australia, and in the last year it has hit the headlines more than ever before. From the controversial Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, to the death of Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington, it’s become harder to simply turn the page when headlines like ‘Australia’s Suicide Crisis Has Peaked to a Terrifying New Height’ come up. But that awareness is a good thing. Because, even though the headlines and statistics make your stomach lurch, with them comes a widespread movement to erase suicide—and it has reached Australia.

The World Health Organisation tells us that we lose nearly 800,000 people across the globe each year to suicide (that’s one every 40 seconds). Those numbers may be hard to comprehend, so let’s start at home.

In Australia, an average of 3,000 people die each year by suicide—or eight people a day. It is the leading cause of death in people aged 15–44, making it more likely to take a young person’s life than a motor vehicle accident or skin cancer. And while suicide dramatically impacts our young people, it is not prejudiced—it is the second leading cause of death for people aged 45–54. It is also more likely to occur in people who ex­perience mental illness.

Suicide rates for men are three times higher than women, and we see it peak in women aged 35–49 and men over the age of 85. With it comes a rise in self-harm (not necessarily an attempted suicide), and up to an additional 25 attempts by other individuals for every one death.

It’s also important to note that suicide is most prevalent amongst minority groups and veterans. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth, and young people in regional and remote locations, are most at risk. In fact, in many of these areas, youth suicide happens in clusters, and rates are more than double the national average.

Given this, it’s not surprising that the Australian Bureau of Statistics tells us suicide rates have reached a 10-year high.

Are you winded yet?

Take a deep breath. The facts are grim. But on World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10) and RUOK? Day (September 14), we remember this: there is hope. Hope that comes from a healthy church community, and hope that we can share the strength and purpose we find in God.

Just like the group I volunteered with that day, there are many organisations and people across the world that are committed to embodying hope to combat suicide.

On a global scale, non-profit To Write Love On Her Arms is leading the way, and have named their World Suicide Prevention Day campaign ‘Stay. Find what you were made for’. They are using the event to raise funds for suicide prevention and recovery, and have encouraged hundreds of people across the world to share their purpose for existing, using the hashtag #IWasMadeFor.

Nationally we also have many organisations determined to turn the tide. The increase in suicides over the past decade has led experts to push for changes to national mental health policy, including Lifeline CEO Peter Shmigel who said, “While we’re prescribing more medication for mental illness than ever before…we are not doing enough to combat social factors that lead so many to choose death over living.”

In a recent interview with The Australian, child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg also pushed for action from the government to combat youth suicide, saying, “This is a generation that is…really struggling; I’ve never seen anything like it.”

While experts are urging policymakers to change things, the good news is that our nation is at the forefront of researching the health crisis. The Black Dog Institute, which uses research to reduce the incidence of mental illness, associated stigma and suicide, has observed that mental health tools are more effective when they are mobile and accessible 24/7 through technology.

Their Digital Dog research sector develops and creates apps and websites to complement face-to-face treatment. For instance, one of their latest trialled apps is named iBobbly, and it engages Aboriginal people with culturally appropriate art, music and stories to provide mental health care.

While technology can be used to educate people and prevent suicide, it is the relationships that people build with their com­munity that will save lives.

We see this on a local level with Salvo corps (churches) around Australia beginning much-needed conversations about mental illness, and giving people a safe place to heal, receive prayer, find a counsellor and enter recovery.

It also occurs through mental health organisations like the National Youth Mental Health Foundation Headspace, which provides early intervention mental health services for young people aged 12–25. They have more than 100 centres across Australia, and are convoying around the country in the days leading up to RUOK? Day, hosting community events in 20 locations so people can learn how to ask someone if they are at risk of suicide.

It’s impossible to change the statistics overnight, but by approaching this issue one person and one life at a time, we can make a difference. And that starts with us simply opening up the conversation with the words, “Are you okay?”  

Where to find help:

Call
Lifeline 13 11 14
Kids Help Line 1800 55 18 00
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Chat online
eheadspace.org.au
beyondblue.org.au

Find help near you
headspace.org.au/headspace-centres
beyondblue.org.au/get-support/find-a-professional
hopemovement.com.au/findhelp

twloha.com/findhelp

In an emergency, always call 000

Your G.P. and/or a Professional Counsellor can give you the additional support you need. For a FREE 10 minute consultation as to how we can help you, ring Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 or you can book an appointment press Book Now to book in our online diary.

10 Mental Health Accounts You Need To Follow on Instagram

10-Mental-Health-Accounts-You-Need-To-Follow-on-Instagram

Instagram has it all—cute cat videos, hilarious memes and way too many photos of food. But did you know that there are also some great mental health accounts on there?

In recognition of the millions of people who share their stories around mental health every day on the social media platform, Instagram started the #hereforyou hastag. To celebrate, we decided to share some of the best mental health accounts with you. Here are some of our favourites…

@gemmacorrell

Gemma is an illustrator living in the UK, and you may have seen her drawings on cards at your local gift shop or bookstore. Known for her hilarious and accurate portrayals of life with anxiety (and frequent cameos from her pug dogs), this is a cute and encouraging addition to your news feed.

@dallasclayton

Not so much a mental health account, Dallas’ Instagram feed is a feel-good vault of his artwork. Fun, whimsical and always filled with a positive message, this gets some colour into your day and puts you in a good head space.

@themelodyh

We’re big fans of Melody’s #BecauseHonestly series, but her account is also worth a follow because her lettering communicates the vulnerability and weakness we all feel at some point in our lives. Taking everyday thoughts and feelings, she reminds us that we’re not alone in our struggles.

@introvertdoodles

While this account is made for introverts, anyone with social anxiety will love these illustrations by Maureen ‘Marzi’ Wilson. Endearing and fiercely accurate, each pic is a comforting reminder that it’s ok to enjoy your own space and recharge.

@buddyproject

Existing to connect people across the globe to prevent suicide, The Buddy Project uses their account to ask questions about mental health, promote conversation and educate their followers around different disorders.

@beating_binge_eating

If you’re looking for some body positivity and self-confidence, Beating Binge Eating is sure to boost your self-esteem with its validating and truthful messages. Forget taking the perfect selfie, give this account a follow instead.

@happify

Happify empowers individuals and organisations to build resilience and mindfulness, and their account is a collection of interesting facts about the benefits of mindfulness, ways to practice it and inspiring quotes to motivate you each day.

@beautiful_mandalas

Mandalas are a unique tool for mindfulness and relaxation because they can created, drawn, coloured in or found in nature. This account has over 215,000 followers and curates the best mandalas posted on Instagram, encouraging you to relax and connect with the world around you.

@bymariaandrew

Maria’s illustrations are cute, though provocative and immediately relatable. Her drawing range from communicating the pain of relationship break ups to the non-linear path of recovery and thoughts on grief. This account is essential to your follow list.

@makedaisychains

Make Daisy Chains is Hannah Daisy, and she specialises in her #BoringSelfcare pictures—reminding us that even the most basic acts are important when we don’t feel 100 per cent, are struggling with mental health issues or experience chronic illness.  Follow this account for reminders to take care of yourself and fun suggestions on how to do it.

And last but not least…@Watersedgecounselling

That’s right, Watersedge is on Instagram! Follow us for our latest blogs and inspirational quotes that will motivate you to achieve wellness in your self, relationships and work life.

Do you struggle with a mental illness? Would you like to learn about day-to-day strategies you can use to soothe yourself? Call Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10 minute consultation. To make an appointment, go to BOOK NOW and you will be able to access Watersedgecounselling’s online appointment diary.

 

20 inspiring quotes to kickstart your day

20-inspiring-quotes-to-kickstart-your-day

I am not a morning person. In fact, when my alarm goes off, I’d much rather turn over and sleep the day away. Eventually, a long to-do list and responsibilities get me out of bed, but it takes me a few hours to fully wake up and be productive.

People struggle to ‘get up’ for many reasons—fear, stress, depression, anxiety or laziness are all issues we deal with at one time or another. So what keeps you from getting out of bed and facing the day?

There’s no easy solution to waking up (we’ll leave that for another blog), but if need some motivation to get up with your alarm, then these inspiring quotes could give you the kickstart you need.

Write them out and place them by your bed. When the alarm goes off in the morning, repeat these to yourself and be empowered to start your day positively.

When you wake up anxious

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength—carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

—Corrie ten Boom

“Write it on your heart

that every day is the best day in the year.

He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day

who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety. “

—Ralph Waldo Emmerson

“Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity”

—T.S. Eliot

“Anxiety's like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you very far.”

Jodi Picoult

 

When you need motivation

“I want to live my life in such a way that when I get out of bed in the morning, the devil says, “aw shit, he's up!”

Steve Maraboli

“Life isn’t meant to be lived perfectly…but merely to be LIVED. Boldly, wildly, beautifully, uncertainly, imperfectly, magically LIVED.”

Mandy Hale

“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.”

—Kurt Vonnegut

“What is the point of being alive if you don't at least try to do something remarkable?”

—John Green

When you wake up afraid

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

—Eleanor Roosevelt

“Do your thing and don't care if they like it.”

Tina Fey

“Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.”

— Donald Miller

“Becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”

Veronica Roth

 

When you wake up feeling stressed

“Whatever may be the tensions and the stresses of a particular day, there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace.”

—Howard Thurman

“You don't need a plan; you just need to be present.”

—Bob Goff

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

—William James

“We cannot change anything unless we accept it.”

C.G. Jung

 

If you struggle with depression

“Don’t give up. Don’t give up on your story. Don’t give up on the people you love. Hope is real. Love is real. It’s all worth fighting for.”

Jamie Tworkowski

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

Albert Camus

“I am stronger than depression and I am braver than loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.”

—Elizabeth Gilbert

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

C.S. Lewis

Are mornings difficult for you? Do you feel stressed, anxious or depressed? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary

 

101 Best Personal Development bloggers

101 Best Personal Development bloggers

We are thrilled to announce that Guided Mind has named WatersedgeCounselling as one of the 101 Best Personal Development and Self Help bloggers of 2016!

As part of their Best and Most Inspiring Personal Blog Awards for the year, we have been named alongside New York Times best selling author Michael Hyatt, as well as Marie Forleo, a personal and professional development writer chosen by Oprah as a thought leader for a new generation.

Guided Mind ColleenListed at #96, Watersedge is described as a ‘blog to [help] you stay mentally healthy, addiction free, happy, good in relationships and stress relieved.’

You can see the complete list of Guided Mind 101 best personal development and self help bloggers here. The list is ordered randomly, and as Guided Mind say ‘some of the best bloggers can be found at near the very bottom of the list,’ so take your time browsing.

Do you want to learn how to take better care of your mental health? Would you like to discuss your own personal development?  Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

Alcohol: 8 Steps to Slow Down Your Drinking

alcohol-8-steps

Lots of us enjoy having a drink with our friends. Whether it’s a glass of red with the girls, or a beer at the family barbeque, once we start, it can be difficult to stop.

Your age, physicality, gender and any medication you take all affect how you react to alcohol. This is why some people can ‘hold their liquor’ after three beers, and others become tipsy after one.

It’s always an option to remain sober, but if you’d like a drink, try these steps to slow-down your alcohol intake at parties.

  1. Start with a soft drink

When you arrive, don’t jump the gun and go for the liquor. Take it easy and start with a fizzy drink. It will curb your thirst and you will keep your head as the night progresses.

  1. Eat food

A full stomach slows the effects of alcohol. Make sure you eat a good meal at the start of the night, and stay well fed on snacks and appetisers while you are drinking. Avoid salty foods that will make you thirstier.

  1. Stay hydrated

Drink a glass of water between your alcoholic beverages. This will re-hydrate your system, slow your drinking down and make you full.

  1. Follow standard drink sizes

Don’t assume that your glass of wine is one standard serving of alcohol (10mg). The type of alcohol, size of a glass and the liberty of the server means you can consume more alcohol than planned very quickly. Check the alcohol content on the bottle or ask the server if you are unsure.

  1. Avoid shouts and top-ups

A few shouts into the night, a top-up here or there, and you loose track of how much alcohol you’ve drunk. Politely say ‘no’ to these gestures and stick to the Australian Government’s recommendation of two standard drinks a day.

  1. Drink a low alcohol alternative

Choose a ‘light’ option, or a less concentrated drink. Avoid spirits that are poured into soft drink without being measured.

  1. Pace yourself

Before your first beer, plan how much you will drink over the night. Use this to pace yourself over each hour, taking sips and drinking non-alcoholic beverages to fill out the time.

  1. Say ‘no’

You are in control over what you drink. Don’t feel compelled to get blind-drunk because your colleagues do, or go for harder alternatives at their insistence. Stick to your plan and focus on socialising rather than drinking alcohol.

Are you drinking too much alcohol? Do you wake up with regrets after a big night? Then here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on the online diary.

Are you doing Dry July? Sign up FREE for our 30 Day Challenge and we’ll help you stay sober with a new tip every day for a month!

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