One of Australia’s largest providers of mental health, homelessness and suicide prevention support services, Neami National, is launching a new website in Perth to support young people to help a friend they’re worried may be suicidal.
RightByYou is a website designed by young people, to inform and empower other young Australians to reach out and support a friend showing thoughts of suicide.
RightByYou brings together Australia’s best-practice evidence-based youth suicide prevention resources within one accessible online web tool. Resources include educational articles and videos on how to identify warning signs, and what to do if something does occur with a friend. The hub includes tailored information for people with a disability, parents and carers, LGBTQIA+ and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Suicide Prevention Coordinator at Neami National and RightByYou Project Lead Neeka Zand said, ”My own lived experience helping a friend during a time of crisis has motivated the creation of RightByYou. Suicide is a sensitive topic, so much so that we avoid talking about it and many young people aren’t sure how to identify the signs or don’t know how to act if they do.”
In 2018, one of Neeka’s close friends experienced significant mental health challenges. Neeka noticed concerning behaviour and called 000 to intervene after a troubling text message.
“At the time it was very difficult to locate the information I needed to support my friend, fortunately, I’d had mental health training prior to the incident and was aware of the warning signs. Many young Australians have limited knowledge of suicide indicators or are fearful of making things worse,” said Ms Zand.
The launch of the RightByYou web tool coincides with troubling data. In 2021, 322 young Australians (aged 18–24) took their own lives. In addition, 112 deaths by suicide occurred among children and adolescents (aged 17 and below) with the majority amongst those aged 15–17 years (71%), according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare1.
Research also reports approximately 100 – 200 suicide attempts for every suicide among young people2.
“It’s a challenging time for young Australians who are still finding their feet and understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while also navigating a cost-of-living crisis. While there is a lot of information available for the person experiencing the crisis, we are empowering their friends with the knowledge and tools to help take preventative action,” said Ms Zand.
The web tool is launching in Perth as a trial phase in 2023. The website is live as of today via rightbyyou.org.au.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts, visit rightbyyou.org.au, call Lifeline on 131 114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.