NATIONAL help network beyondblue has created a guide to help families reach out to young people who could be at risk of suicide, in an effort to bring down Australia's heartbreaking suicide rate.
The Family Guide for Youth Suicide Prevention, funded by security software makers Norton, offers advice on how to have a conversation with a young person who may be at risk, what factors place young people at risk and the warning signs to look for.
Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in Australia, with around 350 people aged between 15 and 24 dying by suicide in 2013, the latest year for which data is available.
This is around one death a day, double the number killed in car accidents.
Chief executive Georgie Harman said: "Families of young people are often really worried about them, but are too afraid to ask them if they are thinking of hurting themselves," she said.
"That needs to change because talking about suicide does not cause suicide. In fact, asking questions may prevent suicide by showing the young person that someone cares.
"This Family Guide contains potentially life-saving information, along with other practical tips and evidence-based advice to help family members support at-risk young people and steer them through adolescence and beyond.
"If you're concerned about a young person in your life, then you should read this guide. It may be exactly what's needed to help you save a life or change one for the better.
It includes a four-minute video featuring young people talking to the camera about how a young person might act if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts, and what works and what doesn't work when it comes to youth suicide prevention.
The guide also features specific advice on how to help young people who are experiencing cyberbullying, which is a risk factor for youth suicide, and how to help them respond.
- A young person in crisis can call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14, 24 hours a day seven days a week.
- If a family member is concerned that a young person may be experiencing depression or anxiety symptoms, they can contact the beyondblue Support Service 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1300 22 4636.
There is also beyondblue's online chat function between 3pm and midnight AEST, seven days a week, or people can send an email from the website for a response within 24 hours.
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