Do It For Dolly
A 14-year-old girl from a well-known Northern Territory cattle family who took her own life last week has been remembered by her family as a "kind, caring and beautiful soul" as they launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of bullying and harassment around “Do it for Dolly”.
This new “Do it for Dolly” Campaign has reminded us yet again of two big and current issues in our communities both urban and rural - cyberbullying and suicide.
I was reading recently that Mission Australia’s youth survey this year found concerns about mental health across the country have doubled since 2011. About 22,000 young people aged 15-19 took part in the survey and more than 20% cited mental health as among their top national issues. Mission Australia’s CEO said concerns about mental health were at their highest level in the survey’s 15 year history.
We need to listen to our young people. If they are talking loudly and clearly about their concerns around mental health, even despite the stigmas associated with this area of health, then we know we need to sit up and take notice.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your children and young people about these issues. So often we don’t talk about suicide because we don’t want to ‘put ideas into our young people’s heads’, but the reality is, they are aware, and it is much better to be up front and teach them that it is safe to discuss these areas with parents and trusted adults. They are much more likely to disclose about themselves or others they know, if the precedent has been set and the topic has been made safe and accessible. The more we open the area of mental health into everyday conversation as we would broken bones and cancer treatment, the more chance we have of knowing where we need to intervene and the sorts of responses we need to be making before it is too late.