Boggabri GP Dr Oshi Gunawardhana from Ochre Medical Centre is encouraging local youth to seek help for mental health and not 'suffer in silence'

HERE TO HELP: Boggabri GP Dr Oshi Gunawardhana is urging local youth to seek support for mental health issues. Photo: Supplied
HERE TO HELP: Boggabri GP Dr Oshi Gunawardhana is urging local youth to seek support for mental health issues. Photo: Supplied

The suicide rate among young Australians reached a 10-year high, increasing by 32 per cent since 2006, according to a 2016 report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

These figures, along with a high youth unemployment rate in Boggabri which is a known cause of anxiety and depression, have prompted local doctors to urge young people to reach out and seek support for mental health issues.

Dr Oshi Gunawardhana a general practitioner (GP) at Boggabri’s Ochre Medical Centre said seeking help for mental health is vital.

“It’s vital for young people to seek treatment for mental health issues instead of suffering in silence,” Dr Gunawardhana said.

“It always helps to talk with someone, and there are several therapies available which can make a positive difference to a person’s quality of life.”

Dr Gunawardhana also said Boggabri’s high youth unemployment rate was a contributing factor to mental health issues.

“We have a high youth unemployment rate in Boggabri and, subsequently, many young people suffer from mental health issues or are at risk of developing them,” she said.

“We see a lot of young people reluctant to speak with their family or GP about mental health issues, for fear of being judged.”

Eight symptoms of possible mental health issues:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • Irritability
  • Social withdrawal
  • Anhedonia or a lack of enjoyment in activities that once gave a person pleasure.
  • Conflict in the workplace
  • Loss of productivity
  • Insomnia
  • Memory loss or a short attention span

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