Stigma Reduction — 01 November 2013

Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 44 across the country, and affects most Australians at some point in their lives. But, what is the solution?

Talking to someone is a good start. bigstock_A_senior_man_taking_a_break_23782178

ABC’s John Cecil in conjunction with Anglicare and the One Life suicide prevention strategy has just launched The Tractor CD, a national suicide prevention project aimed at men in rural Australia.

Tractor features an hour worth of frank, meaningful discussion, poetry and music about suicide and mental illness.

Australians from all walks of life tell their stories about dealing with depression, and listeners are taken on a journey: from the early signs of struggle, to the point of not wanting to be around.

John spoke with mental health expert Professor Geoff Riley about the facts and feelings behind depression.

“People lose the ability to feel altogether. They lose the ability to feel happiness and joy, but also, profound sadness,” says Professor Riley.

“That results in loss of purpose, loss of motivation, loss of meaning. If you don’t get pleasure from something, it is no longer rewarding, it no longer motivates you.”

Depression is mentally exhausting, but can also be physically debilitating, leading to fatigue, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, and temporary memory loss.

Mike told his story to Professor Riley.

“I didn’t realise that I was going through it, I just thought I had bad days, where I felt a bit lost at the start,”

“I didn’t actually know I had depression until I went to seek help,” says Mike. “Basically, you’re just very, very flat.”

Mike didn’t visit a doctor until he began experiencing physical symptoms, a common problem among men.

“Mostly they don’t go to the doctor because they don’t have the motivation, they simply can’t get up and go,” says Professor Riley.

If you or somebody you know is feeling down, talk to somebody or call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

You can listen to the full Tractor doco here, or email [email protected] or call 9845 6666 to get a hard copy.

This article first appeared on ABC South Coast WA on 30 October, 2013.


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