Are We Contributing to the Mental Health Crisis?
New Zealand’s suicide statistics are now at the highest level since records began 12 years ago with 685 deaths by suicide recorded last year in 2018.
Like our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has commented I think any number is too high, but I am not really surprised that numbers have gone up.
Until we can get before-crisis resources into easy reach for everyone I don’t think the numbers will fall any time soon. Attitudes and the stigmas around getting help for ourselves and our loved ones, before we reach the edge of the cliff, really need to change.
Everyone needs to take responsibility for the people around us. Do you check in on your friends, family and workmates? Do you ask “Are you OK?”.
It is becoming clearer with the increase in high profile suicide cases that those that appear to “have it all” can also be the ones suffering.
I used to be one of those people who didn’t want to have the hard conversations, the attitude that “it isn’t that bad”, “I’ll just wait and see what happens”, “they will tell me if they need help”. But then I almost lost someone I love very much!
It was definitely a wake up call, and a catalyst to starting this business.
Attitudes have certainly come a long way even in the 4 years since I’ve owned AwesoME Inc, with the increase in charities and resources for people in crisis. Campaigns to increase awareness – #itsnotweaktospeak #ruok – as well as the NZ Wellbeing Budget. There is SO MUCH HOPE, but it will take time for this new funding, resources and processes to be put in place.
So what do we do until then?
1 – Check on your people!
Take note that it is not always the ones who spend all day in bed and withdraw from contact with others. It can be the one who parties too hard, who socialises too much, the one who works long hours, who becomes obsessive about their job. It can be the one who seems to have it all and appear to be happy ALL THE TIME!
It can even be our children, who are right under our noses that are withdrawing so slowly we put it down to normal teenage behaviour.
2 – Education!
If you think someone in our life is suffering or you are suffering – get help sooner rather than later. Don’t wait for a crisis. Educate yourself. There are SO MANY amazing resources to help people manage stress, emotions, anxiety etc and help you find simple ways to change behaviours.
Mine is one of many businesses and charities providing BEFORE CRISIS resources, and in my opinion there will never be too many! I welcome the competition because it means there are more resources out there for YOU.
My new Resilient ME® Gratitude Journals are certainly proving popular, especially the version for kids, and I am getting so many messages from parents and teachers thanking me for these invaluable resources.
“I just wanted to say we received our Awesome Ends In ME journal for my 7 year old son. It’s amazing. It actually makes me quite emotional because I think how resources like this could’ve helped me so much as a child. I’m so glad I backed your Kickstarter and you should be super proud of the things you are doing to help our kids xx “Aimee
But one thing I have noticed is that while parents buy our before-crisis kids journals equally for their boys and girls (for ages 5-12) there is a marked decline in purchasing for teen boys.
So it has led me to question that was the reason for this post:
Are we as parents making that decision for our boys?
Do we just assume they won’t like it, won’t do it, so we don’t bother purchasing these items to help our boys continue to strengthen their mental fitness?
I’d love to know what you think?
You, our audience, are 98% women, and around 3 years ago we put the question to you:
Would you buy a journal for your partner if we design one specifically for men?
We received two main answers:
- I’d buy it but he wouldn’t use it.
- I wouldn’t bother buying it because he wouldn’t use it.
So how do we change that? My concern is not about my business but that our attitudes around mental health resources for men needs to start with us – the wives, the partners, the mums, the sisters, the friends…
According to Forbes.com women are the world’s most powerful consumers and drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing decisions. We buy not only for ourselves but also on behalf of the people who live in our homes!
So if WE don’t give our men, and our boys these resources – will they seek them out on their own? Maybe? But my guess is they will wait until they are in crisis and then they are faced with the hurdles of an over burdened system…
It is our men who struggle to reach out the most, and our young men and teens even more so.
Over the coming months I am partnering up with other businesses who provide invaluable resources for men to let you know about more about them.
As a mum of two pre-teen boys and a support person to males in my life with mental illnesses it is why I am so passionate about providing these simple tools for EVERYONE to use to strengthen mental fitness and build resilience. So when the shit things that are part of life happen to them (and us) we are better able to cope.
Everyone needs a RESILIENCE TOOLKIT!
So let’s help our men and boys to put their toolkit together.
If you are a business or charity providing these resources please get in touch and we will help spread the word!
Do you need help or someone to talk to?
1737: Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time.
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
Youthline: 0800 376 633
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
Samaritans: 0800 726 666
DHB Emergency Intervention
GP/Doctor Directory: Health Navigator
Police: If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
More info can also be found at The Mental Health Foundation.
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36 (available 24/7)
Lifeline: 13 11 14 (available 24/7)
Mensline: 1300 78 99 78 (available 24/7)
Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467
GP/Doctor Directory: National Health Services
Police: If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 000.
Your life your voice: 1-800-448-3000 (teen helpline available 24/7)
Youth Helpline: 1-800-448-4663 (available 24/7)
NAMI Helpline for Mentally Unwell: 1-800-950-NAMI (available 24/7)
Suicide Prevention: 1-800-SUICIDE
Crisis Textline: Text “GO” to 741-741
Police: If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 911
Anxiety UK: 08444 775 774 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5.30pm)
CALM: for men aged 15-35.
Men’s Health Forum (available 24/7)
Mental Health Foundation
Mind:0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)
Police: If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 999.
For a comprehensive list of mental health and suicide hotlines for 70+ countries