- I am about to share a personal story/issue that effects me personally here, and I think I need to. Why? Because I find it absolutely ridiculous that as a society, we still stigmatize and ostracize those who suffer from mental health issues. Note: this is a repost from my other blog, http://thegreat100challenge.wordpress.com/

As you can tell from the title of my post today, it is going to be a more serious post than I intended. I was up until well after midnight last night wondering where we went wrong. Wondering why suicide rates are so high. Wondering why the rates of eating disorders, self-harm, depression and anxiety continue to rise. Wondering why we stigmatize drug and alcohol addiction instead of offering help for the sufferer. Wondering why the hell we lack in services for so very many people who are forced to suffer on a daily basis because there is nowhere to go, no-one to talk to, no place to help them.

For a 'multicultural, forward-thinking' country, Australia really does have it's metaphorical head screwed tightly on backwards when it comes to our mental health/drug and alcohol abuse systems. Not only do we lack in these very systems to help people in need, but the stigma surrounding suffering from a mental health issue or drug problem is ridiculous.

You wouldn't be telling someone with cancer to just 'get over it', or 'suck it up, princess', would you? So why, as a country, do we feel that this attitude helps with other serious, LIFE-THREATENING IN MANY SENSES, illnesses? This 'men don't cry' sort of attitude may be okay when telling your son to mow the lawn, but when it comes to your son contemplating ENDING HIS OWN LIFE is that really the attitude to have?

Yes, yes, I realize that the concept of someone who love and adore committing suicide, of never seeing them smile or laugh again, is absolutely awful and not to mention heart-wrenchingly painful. But why is the subject so taboo? Throwback to year ten at high school. We were asked to write a short story with an issue that impacts everyday life as the central theme. I remember one particular kid raised his hand and asked if he could use suicide, as it wasn't on the 'recommended list of appropriate themes'. The teacher shook her head, eyes open wide. No no no, she said, we are not allowed to talk about that.

Now let me ask YOU a question. WHY THE FUCK NOT? Why are we not allowed to talk about something so awful, so serious, so REAL, that impacts many Australians on a DAILY BASIS? Why is suicide taboo? Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australian males aged 14 - 35, especially in rural areas. Why? Because they are told to SUCK IT UP, that emotions are 'weak, feminine, for women, CRAZY' and to just get over it. Toss that in with a blatant lack of government funding and just general services that are hard to access as well as few and far between... I feel like there is something seriously WRONG with this picture. Do you think there is something wrong with this picture?

Personal story time. The reason that prompted me to write this post today is because over the weekend, I lost a friend to suicide. My friend's lost a friend, his parents lost a son, his extended family lost a cousin, uncle, nephew, potential father and grandfather. The community lost a member. We lost someone who we never saw without a smile on his face, without a laugh waiting to happen. We lost someone that we ad just spent the previous weekend with, drinking and playing games, having fun... laughing. We lost him.

The thing is, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It happens when the sufferer, the person, is in too much pain, the problem seems insurmountable, unfixable, and the only solution appears to be to end it all. And essentially, end ones own life.

Australia - we need to stop the stigma. We need to stop treating people who have mental illness, drug additions, alcohol problems, are experiencing suicidal thoughts, as though they are weak, crazy, pathetic, stupid, 'making it up', paranoid. Give me more adjectives, I've got a head full of them right now. It is enough. Too many people suffer in silence, in pain. It does NOT need to happen.

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*** If you or anyone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts or just need someone to chat to, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go to https://www.lifeline.org.au/ ***

Published by Samantha Anderson