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TAS Country : September 30th 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010 Tasmanian Country 25 Advertising feature Mental Health Week 2010 Make call to stay connected R U OK?Day on Thursday October 7 is a national day of action that aims to prevent suicide R U OK?Day encourages Aust- ralians to connect with someone they care about and help stop little problems turning into big ones. On that day, organisers want everyone across the country, from all backgrounds and walks of life, to ask family, friends and colleagues: ''Are you OK?'' be- cause staying connected with others is crucial to our general health and wellbeing. Feelings of isolation and be- ing alone are major contribu- ting factors to depression and social issues that can ultimately result in suicide. Regular, mean- ingful conversations can pro- tect. It's so simple but in the time it takes to have a coffee, you can start a conversation that could change a life. Research shows that talking about suicide with someone at risk actually reduces the chance of them taking their own life. It is the one thing we can all do to make a real difference. Staying connected and ensur- ing your colleagues, friends and loved ones do so as well is as simple as having regular mean- ingful conversations. So every day can be R U OK?Day. R U OK? Day enjoyed tremen- dous success in its inaugural year. More than a million Aust- ralians took part in conver- sations in 2009. Independent research shows more than 650,000 conversations took place as a result of R U OK?Day. Not only did we have the support of the then prime minis- ter and minister for health but both sides of both Houses of Parliament entered private members motions in a show of bi-partisan support on Novem- ber 23. R U OK?Day engaged every GP surgery and every pharma- cist nationally through a mail campaign with supporting in- formation. The federal Depart- ment of Health and Ageing granted R U OK?Day funding to continue operations. Partnerships with News Ltd, Foxtel, the ABC and support from commercial television for our advertising allowed us to reach directly into homes across the country. Some 280 workplaces partici- pated in the workplace initiat- ive to encourage their staff to participate in R U OK?Day. Most importantly, we know from the people who have con- tacted us to tell their stories, that R U OK?Day made a real difference to them. R U OK? is an independent, not-for-profit organisation whose purpose is to provide national focus and leadership for ending suicide by empower- ing Australians to make a differ- ence, encouraging open and honest communication and driving real connection. Suicide claims more lives in Australia each year than our national road toll. More than 2000 Australians take their own lives every year. It is the biggest killer of men and women be- tween 15 and 35 years. And for every victim, it is estimated that as many as 10 people make an attempt. That means about 20,000 people a year are directly affected by suicide. R U OK? aims to inspire all Australians that they can have an immediate impact on the shockingly high suicide rate by reaching out and making con- tact with others. Most people don't openly share their feelings, particu- larly when they're struggling, so don't wait for a sign -- trust your instincts. A conversation could change a life. The best thing we can all do is regularly ask the people we care about: ''Are you OK?'' regard- less of whether they are at risk or not because connection is good for us all. Pain of father's death leads sons to confront suicide DAD TAKES THE LOAD: A copied photo of Gavin, left, Daniel and Anthony with their father Barry Larkin, centre. In April 1995 successful business management consultant Barry Larkin took his own life. In 2009 his three sons were inspired by the death of their father to initiate RU OK?Day as a national suicide awareness initiative. GAVIN LARKIN writes MY father had been the major influence in my life and his death was completely devastat- ing. I honestly felt like I was broken and I would never be fixed. I experienced first-hand the collateral damage of suicide; something at least 1900 Aust- ralian families experience every year. The ABS is cur- rently revising how it categor- ises death by suicide and esti- mates the actual total could be as high as 3500. In the aftermath of a suicide, friends and family often end up on a massive emotional roller coaster. You can be despairing, sad, confused, betrayed, guilty, angry, sentimental and grief- stricken all in the space of a minute. Yet each of those emo- tions can be so complete and so raw that you feel more alive but less in control, than you've ever felt before. The death of any loved one is harrowing no matter what the circumstances. But death by suicide is such a self- destructive and personal act that it is almost impossible for those close to the person who has died not to feel somehow responsible or complicit. Fast-forward 14 years and I am now a father myself. My wife barely knew Baz and my three children never met him at all -- which, apart from his death, is probably the greatest regret of my life. Despite this and even allow- ing for the healing nature of time, we are all still dealing with the circumstances of his death. I'm not sure you ever really get over traumatic, life- changing, events. My dad was a great mentor and coach. He was the guy everyone went to for help, for advice in business and in their personal lives. Ultimately, my dad set me up for success. And my brothers and I have always felt that we never farewelled him appropriately. At the time on his death we were too incapacitated. Late last year I decided I wanted to do something to honour a bloke who gave so much to others, without any- one knowing just how tough he was doing it himself. I had reached a point in my life -- maybe it was turning 40 -- where I felt doing something that would make a difference was important. From a selfish perspective, I also wanted to do something that would stretch and inspire me. I decided to directly address the taboo and get people to confront and talk about suicide. Since then the more I have found out about suicide, the angrier I have become. Did you know that it is the single biggest killer of Aust- ralian men and women aged 15-35? Every year it kills almost twice the number of people as die on the roads. It has no prejudice -- old, young, male female, rich, poor, city, country, black, white, Chri- stian, Muslim, mentally ill, sane. It touches everyone. But the stat I find the most abhorrent for a place that can rightly claim to be the Lucky Country, is that for every person who takes their own life it is estimated between 10 to 15 try to. Which means as many as 40,000 Aussies get to the point that they consider suicide a valid option. Every year. I don't know if asking my dad R U OK? would've helped and I'm not suggesting for a moment that anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide wasn't connected and/or interested enough in them. Suicide is complex and indiscriminate. WhatIdoknowisI'mnotOK about suicide. And I still really, really miss my dad. Week of activities focused on mental health From page 24 Mental Health Week North Expo Keeping the Balance: Mind & Body Fitness Thursday, 14 October 2010 time TBC Albert Hall and City Park, Launceston With something for everyone the Northern area Mental Health Week Expo features a wide range of stalls and activities. Entry is free. Dancing Through Life and Art Exhi- bition Thursday October 14 noon to 4pm Scots Church Hall, 29 Bath- urst St, Hobart Join us for the launch of an exhibition of mixed media and watercolour art works by members of the Clozapine Clinic Art Group. The exhibition will be officially opened at 12.30pm by Hobart Lord Mayor Rob Valen- tine. After the exhibition opening enjoy light re- freshments and take part in a fun afternoon of ballroom and folk dancing. RSVP to alkris@net- space.net.au or phone 6222 8090. Mental Health Week South Expo Keeping your bal- ance: Mind and Body Friday October 15 10am to 2pm Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart Mental Health Week is an important health promotion and aware- ness event. This years southern expo at the Botanical Gardens will showcase mental health service pro- viders. There will be a host of activities, live music and a specialist section and program aimed at older persons mental health and family carers. For more infor- mation please contact Amanda Quealy, The Hobart Clinic at aquea- ly@thehobartclinic- .com.au Supporting relatives and friends of people with a mental illness www.arafmitas.org.au Our shared experience and understanding can help to improve the quality of your life. We offer support through: • A Helpline and Befriender service • A library • Support groups • Building skills • Connecting to services • Raising awareness Ask about the benefits of being a Member and how you can help as a volunteer. NORTH 34 Howick Street Launceston TAS 7250 PO Box 464 Launceston TAS 7250 P: 6331 4486 E: email@example.com SOUTH 3 Bowen Road, Moonah TAS 7009 PO Box 717 Moonah TAS 7009 P: 6228 7448 E: firstname.lastname@example.org You can visit us at or make an appointment...
September 23rd 2010
October 7th 2010