Friends, family could be life-savers: CQU's Louise Byrne

LOOSE lips save lives.

That's the message from mental health experts who say starting conversations about suicide could stem the tide of deaths in the Rockhampton region.

Between 2009 and 2012, 122 of the city's residents took their own lives.

While suicide is a complex and costly problem, one of the most effective tools available to our community is free - conversation.

Psychologist Judith Murray said it was important to find the strength to talk to someone who was "demoralised" and losing their desire to live.

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"People need to have the courage to take the risk, even if the other person says 'stop interfering'," the University of Queensland associate professor said.

"Say to them, 'I am so worried about you' but don't do it from a blaming perspective.

"Say 'I care about you, I'm frightened that something's going to happen to you and I'm not going to play games and pretend I don't know something's going on here'."

Central Queensland University academic Dr Louise Byrne said friends, family and colleagues could be life-savers.

"For everyone who is feeling they might not want to go on with their life, it's about pain," the Approach in Mental Health co-ordinator said.

"They're carrying a whole lot of shame and a whole lot of fear about their own worth or extreme emotional distress. As an individual, as a family, as a community we need to start opening up these conversations."

- APN NEWSDESK



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