I am writing to let parents know that beyondblue has just released a new campaign aimed at teenagers.
It’s called ‘Brains can have a mind of their own’ and it’s designed specifically to cut through the crowded social media space and grab the attention of young people.
There are several short animated videos which will be pushed out into the social media space on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram over the coming weeks.
The message is that brains are weird. They can keep you awake at night, stop you going out, make it hard for you to concentrate and keep you on edge.
The videos encourage young people to go to www.youthbeyondblue.com to find out why their brain is making their life difficult and where they can go for help.
We also have specific information for parents about how to recognise signs of depression and anxiety, and how to talk to their adolescent children about issues that may be bothering them.
It’s a sad fact that despite the efforts of many organisations like beyondblue, headspace and Batyr, young people continue to take their lives.
In fact, latest figures show that 350 young people aged 15 to 24 died by suicide in in 2013.
That is 350 too many. That means 350 devastated families, and countless bereaved friends and acquaintances.
For people who are concerned about the mental health of their teenage children, please have a look at the beyondblue website www.beyondblue.org.au which has loads of free information for parents, including ‘Family guide to youth suicide prevention’, ‘Parents’ guide to depression and anxiety in young people’ and videos on ‘How to have the conversation with your young person’.
If you need more advice or just someone to talk to about your concerns, please call the beyondblue Support Service 1300 22 4636 which is staffed by mental health professionals 24/7 – or you or your child can chat live online with staff between 3pm and midnight AEST at www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support
Jeff Kennett, chairman of beyondblue.