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Mental health issues impact us all, from those close to us as well as ourselves. The worst end result of mental illness is catatonic behaviours and finally suicide. Many people, in fact 2/3 of us, are not confident they can pick the signs in others that there is a problem.

As a teenager, feeling lost, alone and completely misunderstood, I took an overdose. Thank God this didn't work but this is not the case for others. This year, as I’ve worked in the counselling area with teens – suicide ideation, depression, anxiety and self-harming behaviour is all too prevalent.

Here are some tips to notice the signs of mental illness in others - ask yourself:

What are they saying? What is happening to their voice? Are they hyper, moody, over-worried, shamed, feeling like a burden, lonely, trapped or with lowered esteem issues?

What are they doing? Are they withdrawn, uninterested in life, unable to focus, untidy in appearance, reckless, have sleep problems or moody?

How are they living? Are there relationship issues, health issues, work pressures, are they continually stressed, suffering loss or struggling financially?

How can you find out about suicide ideation (if someone is thinking about or planning suicide)?

1. Pray for or with them, depending on the circumstance.

2. Ask them Are You Okay?

3. Listen limiting any advice unless they ask or if it’s a life/death emergency.

4. Get assistance, then check in regularly. (Help is not far away).

Each Australian state and territory has a slightly different approach, with varying mental health themes plus an Australian theme each year. Here are some examples: 'We all have a role to play.' 'Look after your mental health.' These initiatives focus on topics such as: connections; sleep; creativity; water and hydration; doomsdaying and media consumption.

So in more detail here is what to do for yourself or others when struggling:

Be there for others, for yourself, be aware, be open to talk about it, ask questions and listen to answers.

Yourself: be aware of your triggers, your stress points, when you are overloaded, take breaks, have fun, find joy, talk – share concerns.

Sleep: 6-10 hours (different for everyone), babies, children and teens need a lot of sleep whereas older people need less. Older people still need adequate sleep. When it's harder to get it, do a sleep study and get help from sleep experts & doctors.

Creativity: We've talked about flow and how it relates to that. Create things, paint, play music, do cooking, crafts, write or sing. These activities use a different part of the brain that take our mind off logic and problems.

Water: drink fluids, flush the toxins, sweet drinks are a problem (so is tea and coffee), just drink – water, water, water.

Doomsdaying: scrolling and looking at the bad stuff, stop it, some things are bad and some things are really good – look for the good.

Media: phones, TV, computers, games reduce, fast and have breaks from them.

Exercise: produces hormones that are life giving, energising and health giving. Do this every day for 20-60 minutes.

Connections: we are relational beings, made to connect with God, friends and family. Take time and make efforts. It costs in time, money and emotions but the payback to your health is enormous. Below is a list of mental health agencies**:

Last but definitely not least, God has the final say and is a strong tower when we run to Him. He will never leave us alone and will use everything for our good. So turn to Him, His Word, the body and be open and vulnerable to get help.

‘ The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.’

Proverbs 18:10*

‘ And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. ’

Deuteronomy 31:8

‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’

Romans 8:28

‘ Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. ’

Galatians 6:10



Listen to more about this topic-96three FM, 12.30 pm & 2.30 pm Thursdays.

Or Vision radio 20twenty with Neil Johnson

Click Here to Get Inspiration with Daily Gems & Amens

*All scriptures are taken from the New King James Version

**Lifeline 13 11 14 – 24 hours a day 7 days a week Lifeline Text 0477 13 11 14 – 6pm to midnight (AEDT)7 nights a week

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 HYPERLINK ""

Butterfly Foundation Helpline1800 334 673

Carer Support 1800 242 636 or 1300 554 660

SANE Australia Help Centre 1800 187 263 HYPERLINK ""

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

MensLine Australia 1300 789 978

QLife 1800 184 527

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling 1800 011 046

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