This week we marked two very important days in the calendar. World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? Day, both strong reminders about the seriousness of mental health struggles and the pain that often comes along with these struggles.
I think it’s important to remember that you don’t need to be an expert to reach out to someone you know who might be suffering- just be a good friend and a great listener. You also don’t need to be a psychologist or GP to check-in with someone you are worried about.
It may make the world of difference for someone to know that somebody cares. Simply asking someone if they are okay can make a very positive impact on someone's life. Don't wait for them to reach out because they may not feel well enough or strong enough to ask for help!
It should also not overwhelm you. You also don’t need to handle it alone. Encourage them or support the person to connect with a trusted health professional like their GP or a psychologist.
As a community we need to remove any stigma surrounding mental health and people seeking help for it. This will no doubt give those struggling the extra confidence or encouragement to seek the help and not feel deterred because they may be judged or gossiped about.
Let’s do all we can, this issue is a matter of life and death.
Rabbi Daniel Rabin