YOUTH suicide is the important topic of a current Youth Insearch's campaign, and two local girls are doing their part to spread awareness of the biggest killer of young people in Australia.
Its annual End Youth Suicide campaign is being run on February 17, and encourages young people to talk openly about suicide with their friends, families and communities.
Courtney McMullin-Seach and Marlie Thomas both volunteer their time as Youth Insearch leaders, and help other young people if they're feeling suicidal.
Both girls have faced troubling times in their past, and sought help through Youth Insearch to get where they are today.
Courtney said she believed the campaign was "really really effective, as there's such a strong stigma around suicide".
"It's something that's not talked about very often, and we're trying to make it aware that it's more popular than people believe it is," she said.
The girls' role is to speak to those who may be having suicidal thoughts, and then direct them to Youth Insearch staff who can give them "the best support".
"There's been so many people from working with Youth Insearch that have said they're feeling in a suicidal way and it's up to me on how to go about it, who do I contact to help," Courtney said.
"It's really really important when the young people come to us that we don't break their trust, we work really really hard to build that with them."
We need to come together now more than ever to help young people in our communities.Youth Insearch chief executive officer Stephen Lewin
Youth Insearch is now supporting 530 young people through phone and in-person support and created 18 virtual peer support groups across NSW, QLD and VIC to manage their mental health and wellbeing.
Chief executive officer Stephen Lewin said the pandemic was one of the largest contributors to this figure.
"Before the pandemic we supported 300 young people, some who were already dealing with the trauma of the last summer's devastating bushfires," Mr Lewin said.
"We need to come together now more than ever to help young people in our communities. If you or your loved ones are going through a tough time please reach out to support services."
Key youth suicide statistics:
- Suicide is the biggest killer of Australians aged 15 to 24 years
- People living in rural and remote Australia are up to twice as likely to die by suicide as people living in major cities
- For each life lost to suicide, the impacts are felt by up to 135 people, including family members, work colleagues, friends and first responders at the time of death
- In 2019, 461 young Australians died by suicide
For those who need help, contact:
- Lifeline - 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800