Sally's Support Crew - let's join together and spread awareness
Many of us have personally been affected by suicide and serious mental illness but few of us talk about it. It's no secret that I've faced some serious mental health challenges over the years and it's something that I work on each and every day with the tremendous support of family, friends and a great medical team. Let me take a moment to thank all of you!
Over 15 years ago (while outwardly excelling at life - I went on to be awarded the University Medal) I experienced a major depressive episode and my life was saved by some quick thinking friends. I've was given a second chance at life and now it's my turn to share my story, encourage others to get help when they need it and to strip away the stigma of openly discussing mental health issues so they don't become a mental health crisis.
Friday 10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day. On Friday, please take a moment to go outside (following all appropriate COVID restrictions), take a walk and show your support. Even though we can't get together, you can walk around the garden, do the Bay Run (says me never haha!) or simply walk around your local park and see which flowers have started to bloom. Take the time to reflect and check in with yourself and your loved ones - this year more than ever, COVID has presented us all with a myriad of additional challenges and, for many, feelings of isolation.
I've come to believe that 'secrets make you sick'. Let's make it ok to talk about mental illness just like we talk about a broken leg or a heart condition. Let's talk about a challenge before it become a crisis. Let's make it ok to talk with your friends, with your family and with your workplace. Ultimately you never know who is truly suffering - let's try and spread the message that it's ok to talk, that everybody can get help (through fantastic organisations like Lifeline), that nobody is alone, and that no problem is insurmountable.
Follow @LifelineAustralia on FB and Insta and use the hashtag #outoftheshadows to post any pictures from your walk or thoughts and reflections you have on the day. You can also email them to me at my gmail address. Over the weekend I will put all the photos and posts together and share them with you all. You can also visit www.outoftheshadows.org.au for more information.
I'm keeping the circle of people invited to this page quite small. Each year I hope to grow the circle and one day I would love to do some larger-scale work like be an RUOK? ambassador.
Please consider making a donation to Lifeline - they are a terrific organisation that does amazing work. You'll find the donation button on this page.