Let’s start the conversation

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Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and R U Ok? Day. One of the best ways to prevent and minimise suicide is to create connections and conversations checking in with people around you. R U Ok Day encourages each of us to take the time to start the conversation and ask the people around us how they are going. It also acts as a reminder to ask ourselves how we are going, especially for students around this time with assessment coming out everywhere!

Mental Health has always been close to my heart. I remember being in high school and be lectured by our school Chaplain that suicidal thoughts were one of the most selfish things you could do. He used guilt trips and scenarios about transferring your pain to the people close around you. Being in a Christian school they also flipped the ‘you’re a selfish sinner’ card if you think that way. Looking back at my high school they suppressed the conversation of mental health and built a high wall around the stigma to mental health. My hindsight of my experiences have definitely shown me the value of having supportive and accepting people around you, no matter your mental health state.

I absolutely love these days as they slowly decrease the stigma and that is okay to not be going well. Everyone struggles with life at certain stages whether it be when you are a teenager dealing with school/uni stresses, a young adult cracking your way into an industry, or a parent still struggling with the outside critics that come with parenthood. Sometimes, life throws us a curve ball that by ourselves we cannot battle against it.

I want to take today to thank the people around me who stood by me and just let me talk, cry, sit silently and process the inner critic inside of me. My parents have always been there whether I liked it or not and when I didn’t feel worthy of their love, thank you. You had faith in me when I lost it. My friends from Canada, high school, and University, words cannot explain how grateful I am for you sticking by me after I at times may have tested our friendship. Without the support from the people around me, I couldn’t come this far.

To anyone who may be struggling, whatever it may be, I hope you understand that you can overcome any thoughts you may be facing. To anyone who wakes up to battle against the negative talk and relapsing, you can do it – it may be hard, but every day you try, the stronger you get. Let’s keep asking the people around us and making the time to connect every day of the year.

“Sitting silently beside a friend who is hurting may be the best gift we can give.” -Unknown

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