SOAP BOX: When listening can save a life
WHEN I was 15 a boy in my class took his own life.
We weren't friends but I had known him for about five years. It was my first experience with suicide, but it wasn't the last.
In 2012 I stood by as a distraught man desperately tried to revive his girlfriend until paramedics arrived. She was another victim of suicide.
Years earlier someone very close to me came to me in tears, saying they wanted to kill themselves.
I was just a child, but I listened to what that person had to say, told them how much they were loved, and how much life had to offer.
In the years since I've spoken with friends who were down, feeling lost, or in crisis. I think by being there to listen and show that I cared helped them in some small way.
It's estimated 45% of Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.
With numbers like that it is almost guaranteed everyone will come into contact with someone who is struggling to cope.
It might be a parent, a child, a friend, colleague, or someone you meet at the bus stop.
It might be obvious something is wrong, or it might just be they don't quite seem themselves.
If you notice something is wrong, ask the people in your life how they are.
Sometimes having a shoulder to cry on can take lift a huge weight.
At the very least, it can be the first step towards a long-term solution.
If you need help phone Lifeline 13 11 14, or Beyondblue on 1300 224 636.