Australia’s national mental health foundation for young people, headspace, and an Australian clothing company have joined forces to urge the public to speak more openly about youth suicide.

Headspace and clothing brand Unit have started a campaign, Ride to Live, to get people talking about the issue.

Unit founder and creative director Paul Everest said he wants to address the often-taboo subject and combat young people’s reluctance to talk about feelings of depression and suicide.

“A lot of young people feel scared or embarrassed about having suicidal thoughts — perhaps if the public and the media spoke about the issue more openly, they’d feel more comfortable talking about their feelings,” Everest said.

Everest said research shows suicide causes more deaths in Australia than road accidents and suicide accounts for more than 24 percent of all deaths in 20 – 24-year-olds. Australian studies show same-sex attracted young people are up to three times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts, and for rural same-sex attracted young people the rate is even higher.

Headspace general manager Amelia Callaghan backed the campaign.

“We know that encouraging young people to seek help at an early stage can have a dramatic effect on the prevention of future mental health problems,” Callaghan said.

Unit will sell wristbands with all profits going to headspace. Advertisements to promote the issue have been planned.

Headspace has been vocal in its support of same-sex attracted and gender questioning young people and has advocated in favour of gay marriage.

info: Buy a wristband at www.unitriders.com

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