This week is National Youth Week (April 10-19), and Beyond Blue is encouraging young people to use this week to learn how to best take care of their mental health and look out for their mates.
The most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that in 2013, 348 young people (aged 15 to 24) took their lives.
Suicide remains the biggest killer of young Australians every year. Twice as many young people die as a result of suicide than as a result of car accidents.
Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman said these statistics are deeply worrying, but there is hope and support available for young people who are struggling.
“The theme of National Youth Week this year is ‘It starts with us’, which is a fitting reminder that we are all responsible for looking after our own mental health and wellbeing, and we should be keeping a watchful eye on how people around us are travelling - especially young people,” she said.
“Young people need to be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, so they can take action to help themselves, or others, if they need it.
“Adults also need to know this so they can step in to lend a hand if a young person is psychologically distressed and requires guidance.
“At www.youthbeyondblue.com there is information specifically for young people and a link to the BRAVE Program which is an interactive online program for the prevention and treatment of anxiety.
“The Beyond Blue website includes a lot of helpful information for adults, including A parent’s guide to anxiety and depression in young people and videos to help parents start a difficult conversation when they are not sure what to say.”
Ms Harman said young people should know it’s okay to put their hand up and tell someone if they feel miserable most of the time, are scared of being bullied by kids at school or if life at home is distressing.
“If you’re struggling, talk to an adult you trust or call the Beyond Blue Support Service 24/7 on 1300 22 4636, or chat online at www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support (3pm till midnight AEST). There are trained mental health professionals available to help you deal with problems and there are treatments that will work to get you on the road to recovery," she said.
“I wish everyone a fun and safe National Youth Week, and hope many young Australians use this time to think about achieving their best possible mental health, not just this week, but every week of the year.”