Help­ing some­one can be as sim­ple as ask­ing a ques­tion

Central and North Burnett Times - - LOCAL -

Rus­sell Mills: An un­help­ful strat­egy is putting pres­sure on peo­ple to snap out of it, or tell them to avoid it, or keep busy you’ll get over it, or lets go down to the pub.

WHILE sta­tis­tics show the North Bur­nett has lower ac­cess to men­tal health­care ser­vices com­pared to city coun­ter­parts, there are steps peo­ple in the com­mu­nity can take to look out for one an­other and de­crease the bur­den of men­tal health.

Ac­cord­ing to Rus­sell Mills, part of the Unit­ingCare Com­mu­nity team, notic­ing if some­one is de­pressed or could be at risk of sui­cide is all to do with whether you have no­ticed them act­ing dif­fer­ently.

“If I know you’re an ex­tro­vert and you’re not be­ing ex­tro­verted, that could be a sign of some­thing go­ing on,” Mr Mills said.

“It’s about be­ing aware, and hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion, and say­ing what’s go­ing on, is there any­thing you’d like to talk about.”

Mr Mills said it was im­por­tant to ad­dress sit­u­a­tions through re­la­tion­ships as “loved ones are usu­ally the first ones peo­ple will talk to be­cause they have those re­la­tion­ships”.

“In­stead of say­ing you’re de­pressed go see a doc­tor, ask if you can go and see a GP to­gether,” he said.

Mr Mills said it was also im­por­tant to avoid lan­guage that con­notes clo­sure, such as ‘you should be over that by now’.

“We can’t force as­sis­tance on some­one,” he said.

“We don’t want to be the res­cuer ei­ther, we can’t be like, ‘you’ve got a prob­lem, let me fix it’.

“If that prob­lem comes back they will be knock­ing on my door ask­ing to fix it.

“It’s im­por­tant to help peo­ple find their way for­ward.”

Mr Mills said some­times there could be a fear in ask­ing some­one whether they were think­ing about sui­cide.

“Some­times peo­ple will think what hap­pens if I get it wrong, am I go­ing to im­plant the idea,” he said.

“Well re­search says you’re not.

“It’s a fear that can be over­come if it’s done with the right mo­tives.”

Mr Mills said it was an im­por­tant ques­tion to ask, as it could save a life.

“It’s about ask­ing ques­tions in the right way,” he said.

“Have you been think­ing about sui­cide, you may be the only per­son to ask that ques­tion. “It’s okay to ask. “It’s about be­ing a lit­tle fear­less and hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion about how peo­ple are feel­ing.”

Mr Mills said some­times peo­ple might not want to talk with friends or a part­ner.

“Hav­ing some­one ex­ter­nal (like a GP or a helpline) to talk to is very im­por­tant at times,” he said.

“Some­times I don’t want to go home and bur­den my wife with what I’m think­ing about or maybe she’s heard it too many times and I want to pro­tect her from that.

“This is how a lot of these ser­vices (like Life­line) can be of ben­e­fit, be­cause they are bound by con­fi­den­tial­ity.”

Mr Mills said while most peo­ple had good in­ten­tions, they need to be cau­tious about un­help­ful ad­vice.

“An un­help­ful strat­egy is putting pres­sure on peo­ple to snap out of it,” he said

“Or telling them to avoid it, or say­ing keep busy you’ll get over it. Or let’s go down to the pub.”

Mr Mills said self care was also very im­por­tant.

“It is re­ally im­por­tant that self care is used daily,” he said.

“With­out self care we will run out; self care is one of the rem­edy for burnouts.

“It’s not self­ish­ness – it can be as sim­ple as sit­ting down with a book and a cof­fee and say­ing the next five to 10 min­utes are for me.”

Help num­bers:  Life­line 13 11 14  Bridges 1300 707 655  Coun­try Call­back 1800 54 33 54  BeyondBlue 1300 22 4636  Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

PHOTO: AN­NIE PERETS

HELP TEAM: Unit­ingCare Com­mu­nity re­cov­ery coun­sel­lors Robyn Rooke, Rus­sell Mills and Kate Coul­son are here to pro­vide sup­port to in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies in the North Bur­nett.

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