Content warning: This post will be discussing suicide.
You may have seen a post on social media from a member of the West Australian games community in the early hours of the morning earlier this week. The post contained what amounted to a suicide note, and sent a lot of people that care about them from all over the world into a frantic spiral of panic as they tried to seek ways to help. This person is okay, and at the time of writing they are in hospital getting the help they need.
Out of respect for this person’s privacy and need to recover and heal, I am making the choice to not name them. But if you are aware of their circumstances, I would encourage you to gently reach out to them in time to reassure them that they are not alone, and that they are in your thoughts. I do not wish to send a whole community rushing to this person and overwhelming them during an already difficult time.
To the person I am speaking of, I want to wish you a swift recovery and I hope you get the help that you need to keep on improving. You are not alone in the slightest, you are cared about deeply, and I hope you can find strength in moving on from this event with enough time.
For the community, I feel it is immensely important that we use this moment to discuss some difficult subjects; namely, the year so far, and the matter of suicide and its knock-on effects on others.
2020 has been an incredibly awful year for all of us to varying degrees, and you do not need me to tell you all of the reasons why. We are all suffering in our own ways at the moment, and it’s important to recognise that fact and make sure that we look out for one another as friends, family, coworkers, peers, and as a community.
There is a lot of pain involved in suicide. There is undoubtedly the pain of the person who considers it their only way left to take back some semblance of control in their lives, but there is also the pain of the people around them after a suicide attempt. We might ask ourselves what we could have done to prevent it. Please try to not dwell on these thoughts if you have them, as there is absolutely no selfishness or shame in feeling hurt or to be mourning at a time like this.
We must recognise that we as individuals only have so much power to protect and be there for others, and just how much harder a year like 2020 makes it to do that. We are all just doing our best to take care of ourselves and those we care about through a truly awful period of human history. “Unprecedented times” does not even begin to encapsulate just what we are living through together, or just how much energy it takes keep on even functioning at present.
Reach out to one another and remember to take care of yourselves. Check in on your friends, your family and your loved ones to see how they are doing, but please never do so at a cost to your own mental health and well being. Make sure you also seek help when you need it.
My psychologist likes to put it like this: in an emergency on a flight you put your oxygen mask on before you help others. After all, you can’t help anybody if you are suffocating.
Australia has several 24/7 mental health services available for you to call if you are in need.
1300 22 4636
13 11 14
1800 55 1800
1300 78 99 78
Suicide Call Back Service
1300 659 467
If you or anybody you know are struggling at the moment, speak with your doctor. Request a mental health plan. Medicare allows people on mental health plans to claim up to 10 sessions with a mental health professional every year.
Please take care of yourselves and each other, and never be afraid to reach out to your community if you are in need. Nobody should feel alone in times like these.
Chairperson, Let’s Make Games