Have the Conversation

Ed, This year, over three million Australians will experience depression or anxiety or both. Today, seven Australians will die by suicide. It may be someone in your family, a person you work with or a mate on your footy team. You may have noticed something is amiss, but you’re not sure if you should say something or mind your business. You’re not the only one who feels this way. Many people don’t know what to say or worry they could make the situation worse by approaching the person. However, reaching out to someone you’re worried about is often the catalyst for that person starting on the road to recovery. To help people to have what could be a difficult chat, beyondblue has produced a guide on how to Have the Conversation. The guide, which was funded with donations from the Movember Foundation, explains how having a conversation can help people feel less alone and more supported in getting help for anxiety and depression, and what to do if your attempt to have the conversation is met with a bad reaction. A recent independent evaluation of beyondblue’s Have the Conversation resource found it has been accessed on the website almost 900,000 times, with half of surveyed users going on to have a conversation with someone who they were concerned about or broaching the subject of their own mental health. The evaluation also found the guide positively influenced up to 1.3 million conversations by improving how people engaged their friends and loved ones. These positive results show how effective Have the Conversation has been at making people feel more supported and at prompting people to seek help for themselves or others. If you are struggling a bit, but don’t know how to reach out for support, or you’re concerned about someone else, but don’t know what to say, visit www.beyondblue.org.au/conversations And don’t forget that you can speak to a mental health professional any time, day or night, by contacting beyondblue’s Support Service on 1300 22 4636. It’s better to put your hand up if you need help, or lend a hand if someone is struggling, than not to say anything at all because you’re not sure what to say. Depression and anxiety won’t get better without help – and if left undiagnosed and untreated, these conditions can become disabling or even lead to someone thinking about suicide. So please, check out our resources and have the conversation. Georgie Harman, beyondblue