Suicide and Mental Illness Support Cairns

Suicide and Mental Illness Support CairnsAround 2,000 Australians die from suicide each year and there is no doubt that depression is a major cause. Of those who have killed themselves, many have experienced depression or bipolar disorder. For every person who dies from suicide at least another 30 people attempt suicide.

Suicide and mental illness

Suicide is the major cause of premature death among people with mental illness. Up to 10% of people affected by mental illness kill themselves, however, many of those who have attempted suicide, or who have seriously thought about killing themselves, will – with medical intervention, counselling, social support and time – go on to live full, productive lives.

Youth suicide

The rate of suicide among young people, especially young men, aged between 15 and 30 has increased alarmingly since the mid-1960s. A suicide attempt can be an early warning sign of mental illness and many young people who have committed suicide have experienced some form of mental illness. Immediate access to assessment, support and treatment services is vital if a young person displays any of the warning signs listed below, or attempts to take their own life.

Suicide warning signs

The majority of people who suicide, give warning signs about their intentions. Some of the warning signs are:

  • Expressions of hopelessness or helplessness;
  • An overwhelming sense of shame or guilt;
  • A dramatic change in personality or appearance or irrational or bizarre behaviour;
  • Changed eating or sleeping habits;
  • A severe drop in school or work performance;
  • A lack or interest in the future;
  • Written or spoken notice of intention to commit suicide;
  • Giving away possessions and putting their affairs in order.

What can I do if a relative or friend threatens suicide?

If you think a friend or relative is at risk, discuss your concerns with them openly and non-judgmentally. Also, discuss your concerns with relevant professionals such as their doctor or a school counsellor. If someone you know is at serious risk of suicide, keep the phone number of a crisis service (for example, Lifeline) handy in case you need urgent help.

Suicide support services in Cairns and North Queensland

If a person has attempted suicide, a doctor or mental health professional in your area can provide education and support. It is important to realise that responsibility for an action ultimately lies with the person who carries it out. This can be hard to accept, however, if everything possible has been done and someone is still seriously determined to end their life, it can be very difficult to stop them. If you have suicidal thoughts it is very important to remember that thoughts about harming yourself or suicide are just thoughts. They do not mean you have to actually harm yourself. There are a number of ways you can tackle suicidal thoughts:

  • Tell your doctor or other sympathetic people. If your thoughts are associated with depression, delusions or other symptoms, a change in medication and treatment may help get rid of them;
  • Keep a list of people you can telephone as well as the numbers for Lifeline and similar services. Make an agreement with one or more people that you will call them if you actually plan to attempt suicide;
  • Remember you do not have to act on suicidal thoughts and that they will pass in time.

Where to get suicide and mental illness support

  • Your psychologist
  • SANEAustralia Tel. 1800 18 SANE (7263)
  • Lifeline Tel. 131 114
  • Kids Helpline (for children aged under 18) Tel. 1800 551 800
  • Your doctor for information and referral

If you or someone you know are at risk of suicide, call Crispian Jones at Seachange Psychology for psychological support, assistance and advice on 07 4041 4147.

Cairns Psychologist Rebates

Health fund rebates may apply and you don’t need a doctor’s referral to make an appointment. If you do see your doctor and he writes you a Mental Health Care Plan to see a psychologist, you are entitled to 12 sessions in a calendar year and you will receive a rebate from Medicare of approximately $84.80 as at 2015.