In 2018, 3046 Australians died by suicide - more than double the national road toll of 1145 deaths.
The impact of suicide is felt not only by the families directly affected, but also by the wider community. And while the national figure has decreased slightly, there has been an increase across the state, especially in rural and regional communities.
While it's a tough subject to talk about, Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP)Coordinator Dianne Gill says recognising the signs and reaching out to others can help prevent deaths by suicide.
"The more we learn about suicide, the better prepared we can be to reach out to someone," she said.
How can you tell if someone is at risk of suicide?
Some common warning signs include:
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt or shame
- Dramatic changes in personality, behaviour or appearance
- Giving away possessions or putting affairs in order
- Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
- Frequently talking or 'joking' about death
- Avoiding social situations
So how can you talk to someone about suicide?
- Ask them directly -"are you thinking about suicide?"
- Listen and acknowledge their feelings
- Be aware of your own reactions; try not to panic
- Show them that you care
- Reassure them that help is available
- Follow up
Ms Gill, who is based in Canowindra and services the region, said the RAMHP is available to anyone who needs assistance.
"I am not a clinician but I can help link you to services in our area," she said.
Contact Ms Gill on 0427 460 430, email firstname.lastname@example.org or head to the RAMHP website for information and helpful resources - www.ramhp.com.au
If the person is at risk of harming themselves at that time, call Emergency Services 000.
If you're concerned about your own or someone else's mental health, you can call the NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
For pointers on how to start safe conversations about suicide check the #YouCanTalk campaign here (www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/youcantalk) and the Conversations Matter resource (www.conversationsmatter.com.au/resources-community)