Helping someone can be as simple as asking a question
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
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.