We all have good days and bad days. But for some, those bad days can mount up to the point that you reach a crisis point and you feel like life is no longer worth living. These feelings are surprisingly common, with more than 1 in 10 people reporting having had suicidal thoughts at some point. To prevent these thoughts from turning into a suicide attempt, it's really important to seek immediate help.
There are a number of services and professionals available to help during a crisis. You may wish to speak to someone over the phone, via an online chat or face to face. Whichever you prefer, it’s important that you are proactive and seek help early.
Rachel Norris, Lifeline South Coast CEO said: “Our telephone crisis support service – 13 11 14 - is available 24/7 from a landline, payphone or mobile.
“Anyone across Australia experiencing a personal crisis or thinking about suicide can contact Lifeline. Regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation, our trained volunteers are ready to listen, provide support and referrals,” said Rachel.
“In fact, at Lifeline South Coast, we answer around 2,000 calls every month from people needing crisis support and suicide prevention services.”
A range of online crisis support chats are also available through Lifeline, beyondblue, ReachOut, QLife (for the LGBTIQ community) or eheadspace, youthbeyondblue and the Kids Help Line for young people.
“Crisis support chats can provide immediate, accessible, short-term help to people needing support to deal with current problems in living that are overwhelming their capacity to cope and may be threatening their safety.
“They can also help to provide suggestions for online resources, open pathways for longer term solutions to underlying issues, and determine specific next steps,” said Rachel.
Another option is to make a suicide safety plan to help you get through the tough moments.
“A suicide safety plan involves creating a structured plan – ideally with support from a health professional or a trusted friend or family member – that you work through when you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, feelings, distress or crisis,” said Rachel.
“BeyondBlue have created a phone app – BeyondNow which can help you develop and implement a personalised plan. It starts with things you can do by yourself, such as thinking about your reasons to live and distracting yourself with enjoyable activities. It also includes a number of individualised coping strategies and people to contact for support – friends, family and health professionals.”
On a local level, the Illawarra Suicide Prevention and Awareness Network (iSPAN) is working with Wollongong and Lake Illawarra Police commands and NSW Ambulance workers to ensure emergency worker are equipped with the most up-to-date information about local suicide support services.
“We supply local police and ambulance workers with family support packs for when they attend deaths from suicide or incidents of attempted suicide. These packs contain a number of resources including information sheets, and contact numbers for free or low cost support services and counselling,” said Peter Brown, Chair of iSPAN.
ARAFMI has also published a Carer’s Crisis Manual to help guide carers through the particularly difficult times. The manual is available for download at www.arafmiillawarra.org.au or by calling 4283 3993.
If you or someone you know needs support please call Lifeline 24/7 on 13 11 14. In an emergency, or if you or a person you care about has already harmed themselves, call 000 and ask for an ambulance, or attend your local hospital’s emergency department.
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