Beyond Blue is marking World Suicide Prevention Day 2021 by sharing the stories of eight people who found a way through suicidal thoughts. Dr Grant Blashki is a practicing GP, the Lead Clinical Advisor for Beyond Blue, an active Media Commentator, Writer in Residence at Future Leaders books, Health Ambassador for the Lord Mayors Charitable Foundation, and Honorary Professor at Shenzhen Luohu Hospital Group in China. Grant Joins me to yarn about World Suicide Prevention Day On Big Brekkie.
In line with this year’s WSPD theme ‘creating hope through action’, Beyond Blue is sharing stories from Ashley, Billy, Geoff, George, Jake, Leilani, Natalie, and Rach to give people hope that suicidal thoughts can pass, and to remind them that seeking support is a crucial step towards recovery.
In Australia, one in eight people will consider suicide at some point in their lives in response to overwhelming emotional distress or pain.
Beyond Blue Chair The Hon Julia Gillard AC said Beyond Blue was sharing stories from people with lived experience of suicidality with the aim of making a useful contribution to public discussion about suicide.
“We’re sharing these personal stories to provide people with some hope and reassurance that there is a way through suicidal thoughts, that support is available.”
“We want to let people experiencing suicidal thoughts know that Beyond Blue is here and we also offer guidance about how to support a loved one who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts.”
New data shows the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Beyond Blue’s support services, which experienced a 53 per cent increase in demand in the year to September 1 compared to pre-COVID levels in 2018/19.
Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said there were practical things all of us could do to support people experiencing suicidal thoughts.
“Research shows that sharing stories of hope and recovery can be beneficial for those experiencing suicidality, particularly young people,” Ms Harman said.
“People who think about taking their own life say the most important thing family, friends and colleagues can do is listen, show they care, and offer support.
“If you are worried about someone, it’s okay to ask them directly: are you thinking about suicide? Talking about suicide doesn’t encourage someone to take their own life.”
Beyond Blue’s website has advice on how to have a conversation with someone you are worried about.
People can also download the Beyond Now app – a suicide safety plan that’s easy to access in a crisis. The app, which allows users to make a personalised crisis plan, has been downloaded 47,000 times since early 2020. It’s been adapted to reflect that people’s usual social opportunities may have changed due to the pandemic
Beyond Blue Support Service - 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au/get-support Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service - 1800 512 348 or coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au
Dr Grant Blashki is a Associate Professor at the Nossal Institute for Global Health, and the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute both at the University of Melbourne, Adjunct at Monash Sustainable Development Institute. His three themes of research are 1) Mental Health 2) Environmental Health and 3) Global Health. He also has expertise in Workplace Mental Health, Pandemic Mental Health Care, Genetics in Primary Care, Artificial Intelligence, and Primary Health Care in China. He is active on Linked In and has co-authored over 125 peer reviewed publications and 8 books. He is the lead editor of the textbook General Practice Psychiatry which has been translated into Italian and Mandarin.
He is a member of the RACGP Genetics Advisory Group, and Advisor on the Therapeutic Guidelines for Psychotropics. Currently he leads the University of Melbourne Masters subject Planetary and Global Health. He has been a chief investigator on numerous research projects, and he was the lead developer of the Monash University/ University of Melbourne Master of General Practice Psychiatry that trained over 150 doctors by distance education and for which he received a Monash University Silver Jubilee Prize for Teaching. He has been actively engaged with community work including as The Chair of the Environmental Working Party of the World Organisation of Family Doctors, as a Board Director of the Australian Conservation Foundation, as a mentor in the Al Gore Climate Leadership Project, as a cofounder of Doctors for the Environment Australia, as Member of the Strategic Advisory Group of the Climate Institute, and he was a participant in the Australia 2020 summit participant.
In 2008, he was a co-recipient of the Fundraisers Institute of Australia’s Major Grants fundraising award for philanthropic work. In 2009 he was co-recipient of an Australian Evaluation Society Award for Excellence in Evaluation in relation to evaluation of major primary health care reforms in Australia. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and has served as an examiner for the fellowship. He is a a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In 2012, he successfully graduated from the Asia Link Leadership program.