Christmas can be a very difficult time for some people, whether it’s the first Christmas since someone has died, or just a reminder they’re not around anymore to share good times with family and friends.
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Last year, 3128 Australians took their own life, and as the festive season approaches, people have been reminded to check in with family and friends who may be doing it tough.
Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative regional manager Dr Alex Hains said reaching out to a friend could be as simple as a quick phone call.
“The cultural expectation that people should be feeling joyful and be surrounded by loving family at Christmas isn’t everyone’s experience,” he said.
“It’s really important that we all actively reach out to those who might feel more lonely over the holiday period, even if just to let them know we’re thinking of them and hoping they’re well. That could make all the difference.”
Suicide rates in the Illawarra Shoalhaven region remain higher than the state average, with around 40 to 60 suicide deaths each year over the past decade, according to figures released by the Collaborative earlier this year.
To bring these rates down, Dr Hains encouraged people to see their GP or contact phone-based support options if they’re not feeling themselves this Christmas.
“It can be a difficult time because some of the face-to-face services aren’t as available over the Christmas period,” he said.
In order to tackled rising suicide rates people have also been encouraged to undertake a one-hour online training course that could save a life from suicide.
QPR Training, or Question, Persuade, Refer families, friends and colleagues the skills and confidence to address their loved ones’ suicidal thoughts and connect them with professional care.
Visit www.suicidepreventioncollaborative.org.au/QPR to register for the course.
If you’d like to talk to anyone about the issues raised in this article call Lifeline on 13 11 14; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 or MensLine 1300 789 978.
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