This week, Australia’s focus is on preventing suicide. Suicide Prevention Day (10th September) and R U OK Day (12th September) are days designed to shine a light on the issue of suicide, encourage people to notice the signs, and check in with those at risk. Knowing what might put a person at risk of suicide is an important start in suicide prevention, but it’s also vital to understand the preventative measures that individuals can focus on to keep themselves well.
Research has found numerous protective factors against suicide, many of which are directly related to overall wellbeing. Working to improve these factors in our lives can help keep us safe.
Happiness, hopefulness, and optimism are all mood-related protective factors for suicide. Building resilience encourages wellbeing. We all know when our mood is high it is easier for us to complete our day-to-day activities and be there for co-workers, family, and friends when they need it.
One of the best known ways to improve wellbeing is social connectedness. Trust, social support, a sense of belonging, and accepting others all help us to thrive. Making an effort to build and maintain those relationships at home, with friends, and in the workplace is a great way to keep ourselves well – and look after others in the process.
Being satisfied with life, feeling a sense of purpose, and knowing that ones life matters are other important aspects of wellbeing. Volunteering, meaningful work, close relationships, and other hobbies can bring a sense of purpose and enjoyment to life.
Habits related to sleep, nutrition, and exercise impact mental and physical health. When we’re going great mentally and physically this influences our wellbeing.
Wellbeing is vital for every individual, family, community, workplace, and society. ‘Being well’ increases the longevity and quality of life, improves productivity, and keeps us feeling happier. It helps us become more resilient when times are tough.
So, what is it that keeps you well?
To learn more about OzHelp’s Workplace Wellbeing programs visit ozhelp.org.au/training-programs/
Need to talk to someone? Help is available at anytime by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyondblue on 1300 22 4636, or MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78, or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.
Bakhiyi, C., Calati, R., Guillaume, S. and Courtet, P. (2016). Do reasons for living protect against suicidal thoughts and behaviors? A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Psychiatric Research, [online] 77, pp.92-108. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27014850 [Accessed 3 Sep. 2019].
Compton, M. (2010). Clinical manual of prevention in mental health. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Pub.
Living is For Everyone (LIFE) Framework. (2008). Australia: Australian Government. Dept. of Health and Ageing, pp.11-13.
Milner, A., Page, K. and LaMontagne, A. (2016). Perception of Mattering and Suicide Ideation in the Australian Working Population: Evidence from a Cross-Sectional Survey. Community Mental Health Journal, [online] 52(5), pp.615-621. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26939798.
Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention in NSW 2018–2023. (2018). New South Wales, Australia: Mental Health Commission of NSW (2018), pp.6-7.