Thank you again to Beyond Blue for highlighting this very real issue of youth suicide.

Being exposed to suicide through TV shows, books, news and social media can be a useful and helpful way to understand suicide and start a conversation. But depending on your personal connection to the issue – or the way it’s portrayed – it can also be triggering, damaging or stigmatising.

It’s frightening when someone you care about is considering taking their own life. Youth suicide affects families every day in Australia; it’s the leading cause of death among young people. And while many young people have thoughts of suicide, only some of them think about it as the only option. Most don’t want to die; they’ve run out of ways to cope with their unbearable pain and all they can see ahead of them is hopelessness.

Suicide prevention starts with recognising the warning signs and taking them seriously. Talking to someone about what’s going on in a calm and straightforward way and encouraging them to seek professional support can help them to manage their distress and get through the crisis.

For tips and advice on how to start a conversation and what to look out for and say if you’re concerned about a young person, visit: bb.org.au/2qadUol

Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions about suicide. You can’t ‘put the idea of suicide’ in someone’s head by talking about it.

Romana x