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The SANE Blog

Our Community Counts

_1MB9882 Rachel Green, CEO of SANE

A message from SANE CEO, Rachel Green

I know from personal experience that the second week in September can be tough going.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that there’s so much more awareness and that events like R U OK? and World Suicide Prevention Day have given people the knowledge and confidence to have meaningful conversations about mental health and suicide.

What I find really difficult - and I know many others who feel the same way – is how the prevailing messages shared across this week makes it seem like suicide prevention is a relatively simple, one-off thing.

For people in the complex mental health community, thoughts of suicide can be a regular occurrence. People living with long-term mental illness are significantly more likely to die by suicide than the general public. In some cases, the suicide risk is up to ten times greater.

If you ask someone living with trauma, psychosis or long-term depression if they’ve considered suicide, chances are the answer will be yes.

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Online peer communities create hope every day

Jess smiles sitting at a workstation with art supplies next to them and vines decorating the wall behind them.

Content note: This blog mentions suicide.  

Jess is a SANE Peer Support Worker and long-time fan of people with shared experiences supporting each other. Jess talks about the power of peer support to prevent suicide and create hope.  

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Navigating anniversaries of bereavement by suicide

Nick is looking into the camera with a small smile, wearing a checked shirt and there is a brick wall behind him.

Content note: this article discusses suicide.  

In anticipation of World Suicide Prevention Day, SANE Peer Ambassador Nick reflects on how anniversaries bring memories and regrets into sharp relief. Staying connected and a ritual trip helps him and his daughter Winnie on their bereavement journey. 

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Media reporting on mental illness, violence and crime needs to change

media_photographers Brett Sayles/Pexels, CC BY 4.0

The media is a key source of information about mental illness for the public, and research shows media coverage can influence public attitudes and perceptions of mental ill-health.

But when it comes to complex mental illnesses such as psychosis and schizophrenia, media coverage tends to emphasise negative aspects, often choosing to focus on portrayals of violence, unpredictability and danger to others.

These portrayals can give an exaggerated impression of the actual rate at which violent incidents occur. In reality, such incidents are rare and are often better accounted for by other factors.

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Fears that stop the question ‘are you okay?’


When it comes to asking the important question 'are you okay?' fear can get in the way.

Fear of the response. Fear of our inexperience on the topic of mental health. Fear of appearing to be a stickybeak.

But these concerns don't recognise the relief many people feel after they hear the question.

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Five tips for responding to someone who isn’t ‘OK’

Person is sitting in a comfortable chair with a coffee and looking out the window thoughtfully.

It takes courage to ask simply and directly, ‘are you okay?’, if concerned about someone's mental health.

What if they’re actually fine? Will they be offended? And what do you do if they aren’t okay?

These are common concerns people have when it comes to asking a friend, colleague or loved one ‘are you okay?’. So it’s tempting to frame the question in a way that encourages a positive response, ‘you’re okay, aren’t you?’ 

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Self-care after someone discloses suicidal thoughts

Self-care after someone discloses suicidal thoughts

There are few things in the world more frightening than hearing that someone is thinking about suicide.

Even when you know you have done everything possible to support them, it’s natural to feel an unsettling sense of preoccupation and responsibility.

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Busting the myths about suicide


Suicide is a big issue. While it only accounts for a small percentage of deaths (around 1.9%), more people lose their lives to suicide than to road accidents, industrial accidents, and homicides combined. Around 2800 Australians take their own life each year; an average of almost 8 suicides a day.

While suicide awareness and prevention has come a long way over the past decade, many myths still exist.

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Self-help if you're feeling suicidal

Self-help if you're feeling suicidal

Feeling suicidal means feeling more pain than you can cope with at the time. But remember, no problem lasts forever.

With help, you can feel better and keep yourself safe. People get through this. People who feel as badly as you feel now. So get help now. You can survive.

There are things you can do to relieve the pain and reduce the desire to end your life.

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What's the value of RUOK Day?


On RUOK Day we're encouraged to check in with people around us and reduce feelings of distress or loneliness by asking the simple question ‘are you okay?’.

Simple, right? But many people doubt the benefit of this idea. It's a fair question. Is it just a fad? Does it really do any good? Can asking a question really change a life?

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