Nearly half of all Australians
will experience a mental health problem over the course of their lives, and 75% of these
will first appear before the age of 25. The long-term impacts of mental illness can be reduced if someone accesses help early, especially during adolescence. Yet, 70% of young people
who need help don’t get it.
It’s an issue close to Darryl Lapworth’s heart. Darryl is the general manager of employment labour hire specialists CTC in Rockhampton and organiser of Rockhampton’s 7 Rocky River Run.
“I had the privilege of talking to a local secondary student who shared that she had recently lost a close friend to suicide. What stayed with me from that conversation were her comments that she and her friends did not know where they could turn to for help, or who they could talk to,” he said.
Darryl believes we need to do more to provide solutions and guidance for young people, “not just those at risk but all young people,” he said.
“They need to know where to get appropriate help.”
“We wanted to do our bit to prevent youth suicide in Rockhampton and, after chatting with students from Rockhampton secondary schools, it became clear that a number of our local youth didn’t know how to respond when a peer shared that they were struggling,
“They also weren’t sure how to encourage them to access help,” he said.
“That’s the reason we selected R U OK? as a funding recipient in the hope that their resources would help young people in our local community navigate these conversations.”
Participants in the 7 Rocky River Run are encouraged to do the run (or walk) with their friends and community.
Darryl said that in tough times, he believes everyone needs the support of the friends, family and often the community.
“That’s why we wanted the 7 Rocky River Run to not simply be a race but an opportunity to bring people together. We wanted to remind Rocky that community spirit and connecting with others is so important,” he said.
Darryl’s hope? That the 2017 7 Rocky River Run has made a difference.
“When I heard the youth suicide rate in remote and rural Queensland I found it astonishing that this issue is not on the front page of newspapers, talk back radio and our television screens,
“We need to keep working as a community to address this issue and advocating for better local suicide prevention and mental health services. But right now we can make a difference to the people in our world, especially the young folks, by checking in with them regularly and asking, ‘are you ok?’”
Darryl hopes the 7 Rocky River Run’s support of R U OK? will encourage more people to do this throughout the year.
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Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced domestic violence, the following article could be potentially triggering. You can contact 1800 Respect for counselling, information and support 24/7: 1800 737 732