Eight Australians die by suicide every day. More than twice as many Australians die by suicide each year than in car crashes. For every person who dies by suicide an additional 30 will try to take their life.
This is the confronting reality that inspires the Towards Zero Suicides (TZS) project, a NSW Premier’s priority initiative to reduce the rate of suicide deaths in NSW by 20 per cent by 2023.
Driving that work within Western Sydney Local Health District is Rowena Saheb, the TZS mental health project officer who joins us on the latest episode of Western Sydney Health Check.
Rowena is also a national R U OK? ambassador who uses her own lived experience of suicide to inform her work and advocate for change in Western Sydney.
In the podcast Rowena talks about the three main suicide prevention projects underway in WSLHD, including an alternative to the emergency department for people experiencing a suicidal crisis.
Rowena also offers advice on how we can all become community champions using the R U OK? conversation starter tip on how to talk to a friend about their mental health using the acronym ALEC:
- A: Ask if they’re doing OK
- L: Listen with an open mind
- E: Encourage action
- C: Check in later
“Trust the signs and trust your gut. If you feel someone’s not doing well, ask the question. Don’t tippy-toe around it. Just ask the question,” Rowena said.
If this story or the podcast raises any issues for you, you can call Lifeline for free personal support at any time on 13 11 14.
To find out more about the mental health services available for you or someone else in need, call the Mental Health Line at any time on 1800 011 511.
In an emergency, please call triple zero (000) immediately or go to a hospital emergency department.