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Mental Health

Mental Illness

Unfortunately there is a lot of stigma around mental illness, however it is common in our community and those living with mental illness need assistance and support in much the same way that people need support with physical illnesses. If you are concerned about someone who is struggling with a mental health issue, there are many services listed at the end of this section.

Suicidal thoughts

Many people reach a point in their lives where they are overwhelmed by feelings of hopeless and helpless. Often they may have adopted an attribution style which is referred to as the 3 P’s: Personalisation, Pervasiveness, and Permanency. That is, they feel they are personally to blame for everything that goes wrong, they generalize that ‘everything’ is wrong, and come to believe that this is how things will always be, ie permanent.

Depression shows itself in different ways in children, young people and adults. If you are concerned, it is okay to ask them outright have they had thoughts of killing themselves. If you do find that they are having suicidal thoughts, you can ask if they have made plans, if so, how, when, where are they thinking of acting out their plan. Generally, the more detailed the plan, the more they are at risk. Let them know that you are concerned about them, and find a way to seek help together. 

NOTE: If you are really worried, do not leave them alone and seek immediate assistance from mental health, health department, police or call 000.

Self harm

Sometimes people do not wish to end their lives, but they use self harm as a coping strategy for their distress. Self harm is:

  • Deliberate act of harm to body without conscious suicidal intent
  • Acts which involve infliction of pain, wounds or injuries to one’s own body
  • Expression of acute psychological distress, with paradoxical intention of helping self
  • Damage inflicted to body to preserve integrity of the mind

It is useful to discover what function is it serving for that person for example is it about:

  • Guilt, shame, anger, loneliness
  • Dissociation, detachment from body
  • Lack of opportunity to develop strategies to manage emotions

Self Harm can serve as means to:

  • Distract self from emotional pain
  • Punish self
  • Relive tension
  • Feel real by feeling pain
  • Feel numb or to calm self
  • Experience endorphins & euphoria
  • Communicate pain, anger or other emotions
  • Nurture themselves

 There are many services who can help :