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World Mental Health Day – How do we talk about suicide?


Media Office
14 October 2019

On World Mental Health Day our community came together for Thursday Night Live!, in support of mental health and suicide prevention. Here are some important takeaways from the event, Opening hearts and minds – how do we talk about suicide?

The expert panel was facilitated by Rose Hogan from Standby NSW Suicide Support, and joined by Luke Rugendyke, Vice President headspace Lismore Youth Advisory Group, Nerida Barclay, Clinical Social Worker headspace Lismore, Ben Karsay, Beyond Empathy and Colin Marsh from Rekindling The Spirit.

“Suicide does not discriminate. It can touch any culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic or geographical area. Not all people who experience mental health issues take their lives, in fact, many people have had thoughts of suicide but do not extend these thoughts into actions.” Rose said to open the evening.

In a respectful conversation, with open hearts and open minds, the panel shared their own experiences and explored some best self-care strategies.

Takeaway quotes from Thursday Night Live!

“We all struggle from time to time – that’s life. It’s important for us to be and feel connected.” Colin

“It’s a challenge that affects all of us, so it’s something that we can all relate and talk to with one another." Nerida

 “I think it really helps when you don’t try tell someone, ‘Maybe you should do this or that’. If you are empathically listening say, ‘Do you feel like this? Is this the experience you’re going through? Am I hearing you right?’ I can’t think of a better technique to open up the trust and path to being able to then work out ways to really talk about it and help.” Ben

“First step is starting the conversation. Being okay to ask questions and try to be aware that everyone is really different.” Nerida

“I love to make sure that people understand that they are cared for and there is still hope.” Luke

 “Let’s not underestimate all we do and say. Sometimes it’s all those little things we do that make the difference.” Colin

Listen to the full conversation on the Thursday Night Live! podcast.

Self-care strategies from the panel

  • Gratitude – be thankful for every day
  • Connect – start conversations or empathically listen
  • Appreciate nature – swim at the beach, take a walk or play with pets
  • Self-reflection – write things down to empty your mind
  • Help ourselves – learn and explore the tools we need for our own self-care
  • Ground yourself – bring your attention back into the present moment
  • Be creative – play an instrument, listen to music or find a hobby which brings you joy.

By initiating these conversations, we hope to support our community towards positive mental health. Free and confidential Counselling Services are available to all students.

If you or someone you know needs help or support call Lifeline on 13 11 14.