DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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7 October 2007

Extending the hand of friendship

I'm starting this post at 4pm Sunday afternoon, about 12 hours before I usually do my Monday morning post. I wanted to start it while something is fresh in my mind; sometimes at 4am the world is a bit muddled for me.

If you watched Landline today you'll know they featured farmers suffering from Black Dog - Depression. Rural suicide in Australia is among the highest in the world. According to the latest statistics, one Australian male farmer commits suicide every four days. I live in one of the most beautiful parts of Australia and yet one person a month commits suicide in the town I work in.

Tomorrow I will work at my voluntary job at the Neighbourhood Centre, which was set up many years ago in response to youth suicide in our town. We talk to people who are down on their luck, provide free counselling with trained counsellors, help the homeless and disadvantaged with food packages. In the past few weeks, in addition to the younger people we see, older men have been coming in. They're embarrassed to ask for help, and scared, and often promise to pay back what they are given. Of course we never accept that and just want to see them back on their feet again.

I have never suffered from Depression but I understand that it has the ability to lay you flat. I don't understand that when life can be so good, how people would want to end it. But I guess that's the nature of depression, it makes you believe that all is hopeless and life is not worth living. The first thing I plan to do when I get to work is to set up some resources for our local people with information about help lines where they can receive free counselling over the phone. Apparently many farmers kill themselves because they have no one to talk to, they feel hopeless and they have the means readily at hand. I'll write an article for our local newspaper tomorrow letting them know that we are there, ready to talk over a cuppa and have information and help for them. I want them to know we care for them, there is help available and they are not alone.

This week is Mental Health Week in Australia. If you're living in the bush and know of people in your community who are struggling, why not invite them over for morning tea and a chat. You can do it in the suburbs and cities too. Depression is not confined to the country areas. Extend the hand of friendship to your neighbour or workmate. There is free over the phone counselling available at Men's Help Line - 1300 789978 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Pass that information on to anyone in Australia who needs it.

Here are some other contact numbers you might help someone with:

Lifeline 13 11 14 (local call)
Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (free call)
SANE Mental Health Information Line 1800 18 SANE (1800 18 7263) (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
Suicide Helpline Victoria - 1300 651 251
NSW Rural Mental Health Support Line 1800 201 123
Lifeline's
Just Ask Mental Health Information Line 1300 13 11 14 (rural areas only, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm EST).
Mensline Australia - 1300 78 99 78.


Information about depression from Beyond Blue.

10 comments:

  1. I live in another part of the world, but your post reminds me that there are probably people struggling here too, right where I am. Thank you for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anna, I'm sure this problem is a world-wide one. Do you have help lines where you live?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have lived with people suffering depression and you are right Rhonda, they just need to know that someone cares about them and that there is someone to talk to if they want to talk. The hardest issue seems to get them to talk about their mindset, but this comes after they believe you are really listening and that they trust you.
    I really admire what you do at the Neighbourhood centre and I am sure you have helped hundreds of people without sometimes knowing the end result. Just like the way you help us all through your blog, in changing our lives for the better and simpler ways.
    You truly are a beautiful Lady.
    -hugs-
    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  4. The first step is the hardest, feeling that anyone really cares enough to want to hear your story. Feeling that you don't want to burden anyone with your troubles.
    Actually finding the courage to say I need some help.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh yes, we have plenty of help lines for about every possible risk group.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Apparently many farmers kill themselves because they have no one to talk to, they feel hopeless and they have the means readily at hand. I'll write an article for our local newspaper tomorrow letting them know that we are there, ready to talk over a cuppa and have information and help for them. I want them to know we care for them, there is help available and they are not alone."

    Oh, I feel so sad reading this...
    Thank you for your actions, RJ!

    (Wildside)

    ReplyDelete
  7. oh rhonda! this tugs so at my heart. my son, jordin, took his own life nearly three years ago. he was 24. we missed all the signs

    Suicide claims the lives of at least 30,000 persons annually in the United States.Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in th US. Suicide ranks ahead of homicide as a leading cause of death.Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. Accidents are number one, but even some of these accidents could be suicides, such as single-car accidents.Suicide claims the lives of at least 30,000 persons annually in the United States.

    http://www.girlsandboystown.org/hotline/index.asp
    1-800-448-3000

    National Suicide Hotlines USA
    1-800-SUICIDE
    1-800-273-TALK

    1-800-799-4TTY (4889)
    Deaf Hotline

    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)

    ReplyDelete
  8. jayedee, I'm so sorry to hear about Jordin. Thank you for adding the phone numbers for your country.

    ReplyDelete
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