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Mental Health & Suicide

Mental health describes the health of your emotions and how you cope. Unlike your physical health – like how your body needs water to keep healthy and exercise to stay strong – your mind is more fragile and can start to change from things such as frightening experiences. This is called trauma.

Causes of mental health issues

Mental health is not a sign of weakness. There are many ways someone can develop mental health issues:

• an injury or an accident
• a result of alcohol and drug abuse
• grief, or
• a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Mental health issues are very common in our mob with most extreme cases unfortunately resulting in suicide attempts. People with an Acquired Brain Injury may be at risk of suicide during their recovery.

Common signs someone is struggling

Mental health not only affects the person involved, but their families as well. It can be hard for everyone to understand. Some of the common signs someone is struggling with their mental health are:

• a person becoming withdrawn and not participating in their usual
favourite stuff such as football or painting
• someone may stop looking after themselves
• someone may become really annoyed really quick and/or all the time
• they start talking about hurting themselves or are hurting themselves
• a person starts drinking grog more, sniffing or smoking yarndi/smuss/ganja, or
• they start to give away their priceless personal and support they

How to help

If you feel concerned for a loved one you can speak with them, or someone from your family may speak with them. You can try and engage with the person around their favourite activities like:

• fishing
• going for a walk
• watching footy
• visiting families and friends, or
• just sitting on the beach for some fresh air.

This might be all it takes to get them to open up to you. There are also services mob can call for help:

13Yarn 13 92 76
Lifeline 13 11 14
Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

But, sometimes the person may need to speak to a doctor and be diagnosed to get the help and support they need including a Mental Health Care Plan. They can visit a local health centre and ask to speak to a health worker for advice. You might need to go along on their first visit to give them some moral support. In extreme cases you can also contact police or an Indigenous Liaison Officer if you think the person is going to hurt themselves or someone else or call the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
Synapse 1800 673 074