This year I’ve been proud to be the independent Chair of the headspace Darwin Consortium.
We had our last meeting for the year this week and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the hard work of the members in supporting young people in the NT with their mental health and wellbeing. The Consortium is made up of representatives from different youth, health and support service organisations in the Darwin region and meets quarterly to share resources, updates and identify gaps in the community for our young people.
Mental health is a massively important community issue in the Northern Territory. The NT has the highest rate of death due to suicide across Australia and the recently released Northern Territory Suicide Prevention Strategic Framework 2018-2023 represents a strategy to reduce the Territories suicide rate by half over the next ten years.
Given this context, I just wanted to take a moment to encourage people to test their knowledge of mental health services and pathways in the NT. I think of it a bit like how you’d check your cyclone kit when you prepare for cyclone season.
Here are some questions you could explore:
- Do you know the steps to take if a loved one approached you with a mental health concern?
- What services can you access and where are they?
- What phone numbers do you have in case of an emergency?
- What other support networks and individuals can you call on?
Talk to your family, friends and housemates about your mental health crisis kit. Just like a cyclone, mental health challenges can build up quickly, do extensive damage and the best way to prepare is to have a clear action plan.
The last meeting has really made me think about my knowledge and resources and I’ll be working on my mental health crisis kit now. I strongly encourage you all to have these discussions with the people you love and care for. And reach out to the organisations that are committed to delivering better health outcomes.
Here’s some I recommend:
Beyond Blue: https://www.beyondblue.org.au
Catholic Care: http://www.catholiccarent.org.au
Mental Illness Fellowship: http://www.mifant.org.au
Reach Out: https://au.reachout.com