Conversations key to reducing stigma around mental health

Removing the fear: Suicide prevention coordinator Shelley O'Brien and Bunbury Suicide Support Group leader Dylan Oakey. Photo: Emily Sharp.
Removing the fear: Suicide prevention coordinator Shelley O'Brien and Bunbury Suicide Support Group leader Dylan Oakey. Photo: Emily Sharp.

Those working in mental health throughout the South West have said the key to reducing stigma is through important conversations. 

This week there was a renewed focus on mental health with World Suicide Prevention Day held on Monday and R U OK? Day being held on Thursday. 

South West Suicide Prevention coordinator Shelley O'Brien said in order to alleviate fear there was a need to increase peoples understanding through education and training. 

“The training we deliver is becoming increasingly more accessed and more popular because people are getting a real sense of empowerment out of being able to have that understanding,” she said. 

“We need to be able to feel more comfortable and at ease with the subject of suicide and that’s why World Suicide Prevention Day and R U OK? Day are all really important.

“The value of talking and listening is so underrated in this realm of mental health and wellbeing but particularly in the area of suicide because I think people have a great fear of talking about suicide because they don’t know how they’re going to be perceived by others." 

Bunbury Suicide Support Group was started by Dylan Oakey, after he found a need to talk to others about his grief following his son’s death.

“It’s really important to raise awareness and the training that Shelley offers is a starting point and gives people the right way to approach things and starts those conversations,” he said. 

If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.