Hello my lovely readers, today I am taking a break from all the parenty goodness that makes up my crazy world to bring you an important message. Today here in Australia it is R U OK day. Today is the day to bring awareness to suicide prevention, and this is a cause that means the world to me.
In Australia every single year there are approximately 65,000 suicide attempts. 2,320 of those attempts are successful every single year. That is too many lives lost from something that is totally preventable. Suicide is one of those uncomfortable subjects we don't like to talk about, but talking about it is the only way to break down the stigma, and let people know they are not alone. The aim of R U OK day is to get the conversation started. It is as simple as asking people if they are OK. Let them know that they are heard, let them know they are not alone, and let them know that there is help out there for them.
Mental illness is still one of those subjects people don't like to talk about. I had a fight last week with my boss because she didn't believe me when I told her I have depression. It shocked her because I am able to get up every day and go to work, able to complete my tasks, and I don't look like a stereotypical depressed person. But that's the thing with mental illness. It is an invisible disease that can be easily hidden with a fake smile. You can't trust that just because someone looks "normal" on the outside that they aren't struggling on the inside.
I have lost a cousin and a brother to suicide, the 14th anniversary for my cousin's death was just last month. I watched her family's anguish when they lost her, and it changed them all forever. When my brother died 9 years ago, I thought my dad would die with him, his heart was so broken. My sister and her family are still dealing with the loss of her husbands baby brother two years after the fact. His son will never know his father because he died before his son was even born. My baby sister has lost too many friends to count to suicide over the years, and many of these happened before she was even in her twenties. Suicide affects the living just as much as the deceased, as they are left behind, wondering what they could have done to help the victim, wondering why they didn't see the warning signs, and wondering how they are going to go on without their brother or sister, without their friend, without their spouse or their parent. The anguish the victim felt is now transferred to the people they loved, and they carry it with them for the rest of their lives.
So to get the conversation going, check out R U OK today. and ask the people you love if they are OK. Remember if you are struggling with feelings of depression, there are people around to help you. For Australians, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you are in America contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1800 273 8225. For all other countries check out this Wikipedia list for suicide prevention contact numbers around the globe. And remember that you are not alone. You are all loved, and you are all worthwhile to somebody. If you have any thoughts on suicide prevention or mental health issues, I'd love to hear from you too, I think you're all awesome, so leave a comment below.