Time to speak up

Isis Town and Country - - Opinion -

THIS year, more than three mil­lion Aus­tralians will ex­pe­ri­ence de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety or both. It may be some­one in your fam­ily, at work or a mate on your footy team. You may have no­ticed some­thing is amiss, but you’re not sure if you should say some­thing or mind your busi­ness. You’re not the only one who feels this way. Many peo­ple don’t know what to say or worry they could make the sit­u­a­tion worse by ap­proach­ing the per­son. How­ever, reach­ing out to some­one you’re wor­ried about is of­ten the cat­a­lyst for that per­son start­ing on the road to re­cov­ery. To help peo­ple to have what could be a dif­fi­cult chat, Be­yond­blue has pro­duced a guide on how to Have the Con­ver­sa­tion. The guide ex­plains how

Robert and Faye Fishlock This is another rea­son why we like to live in a small com­mu­nity, where peo­ple care

hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion can help peo­ple feel less alone and more sup­ported in get­ting help for anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion, and what to do if your at­tempt to have the con­ver­sa­tion is met with a bad re­ac­tion. A re­cent in­de­pen­dent eval­u­a­tion of Have the Con­ver­sa­tion found it has been ac­cessed on the web­site al­most 900,000 times, with half of sur­veyed users go­ing on to have a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one who they were con­cerned about or broach­ing the sub­ject of their own men­tal health. The eval­u­a­tion also found the guide pos­i­tively in­flu­enced up to 1.3 mil­lion con­ver­sa­tions by im­prov­ing how peo­ple en­gaged their friends and loved ones. These pos­i­tive re­sults show how ef­fec­tive Have the Con­ver­sa­tion has been at mak­ing peo­ple feel more sup­ported and at prompt­ing peo­ple to seek help for them­selves or oth­ers. If you are strug­gling a bit, but don’t know how to reach out for sup­port, or you’re con­cerned about some­one else, but don’t know what to say, visit www.be­yond­blue.org.au/con­ver­sa­tions. You can speak to a men­tal health pro­fes­sional any time, day or night, by phon­ing Be­yond­blue’s Sup­port Ser­vice on 1300 22 4636. De­pres­sion and anx­i­ety won’t get bet­ter with­out help – and if left un­di­ag­nosed and un­treated, these con­di­tions can be­come dis­abling or even lead to some­one think­ing about sui­cide.

GE­ORGIE HAR­MAN Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer

Be­yond­blue

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