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Things you can say to support someone feeling down

Casey Lyons, left, and Sam Webb together started a group called 'Livin'' after one of their mates committed suicide. Credit: Luke Marsden.

Things you can say to support someone feeling down

Things you can say to support someone feeling down

Actor and co-founder of mental health charity, Livin, Sam Webb shares his tips for reaching out to someone who may need help.

In Australia, someone takes their own life every three hours. For every person who does, research suggests that another 20 people make an attempt. Additionally, around three million Australians live with depression or anxiety but only 1 million seek treatment.

Sam’s story

Five years ago my good friend Dwayne took his own life. After being one of the last people who spoke with Dwayne that night, this hit extremely close to home for me. I look back at that night and think to myself, maybe if I was more educated in the area of mental health I could have said something different and possibly changed the course of events. The devastation, hurt and heartbreak was insurmountable for so many of us, and is now the driving force behind everything that I do in life.

Livin, a charity and organisation I co-founded, is dedicated to breaking the stigma surrounding mental illness. By working closely with experts, survivors and those struggling, the more common reasons we hear from people who do not seek support are:

  • They don’t feel comfortable showing their vulnerabilities as it may affect how people view them.
  • They don’t know how to start the conversation.
  • They are worried about what others might say.
  • They don’t want to appear weak.

If you notice that someone is acting down or not themselves, please don’t discount their symptoms, reach out and explore what is going on. Keep it simple and casual.

  • “I sense you haven’t been yourself lately, how are you going?”
  • “Is there something I can help you with?”
  • ‘Do you want to talk”
  • “Would it help if we set up some time to chat in a place that you feel more comfortable in”?

Listening is one of the most powerful things you can do when someone is struggling. Remember to listen twice as much as you speak.

If you are reading this and you are struggling to reach out and ask for help. You are not a burden and people do care. Do it for yourself and, if not for you, do it for the people that love you.

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