Sobering Truths – “R U OK?” Day

The statistics for Mental Health in Australia are overwhelming – a few minutes on the Beyond Blue website takes my breathe away.

Statistics tell us:

  • One in seven young people aged 4 to 17 years experience a mental health condition in any given year; yet young people are less likely than any other age group to seek professional help.
  • 13.9% of children and young people (aged 4 to 17 years) met the criteria for a diagnosis of a mental disorder in the last 12 months and almost one-fifth of all young people aged 11 to 17 years experience high or very high levels of psychological distress.
  • Suicide continues to be the biggest killer of young Australians. One in ten young people aged 12-17 years old will self-harm, one in 13 will seriously consider a suicide attempt, and one in 40 will attempt suicide.
  • Over 75% of mental health problems occur before the age of 25 and half of all lifelong mental health problems begin before the age of 14. 
  • Only 31% of young women and 13% of young men with mental health problems had sought any professional help.

Whilst sobering … it is also essential to know … and to know that some of our friends may have an even higher risk profile (our Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander friends, those who identify as LGBTQIA and immigrant or refugee people within our community – to name a few).

Of course, there are no simple solutions but the ‘Beyond Blue’ website holds a lot of information that can point parents and friends in the right direction. It encourages us to Look (for the signs), Listen (to your friend’s / family’s experiences), Talk (about what’s going on) and Seek help together.

I love the training that is invested in Mental Health at our school but MORE importantly I love the way our staff connect, share and are equipped to help our students (and one another) …  to seek help, to research together, share the load, direct to real and practical solutions / interventions and to partner with families over the long term.

“R U OK?” Day – is officially this Thursday (with a focus on ‘trusting your gut’ and asking “Are You OK?”). But really we all know that – every day is an “R U OK?” Day. An opportunity to Look, Listen, Talk and Seek Help Together.   

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