“At 11, that was my first big loss, so you don’t know how to deal with that grief,” the Dharawal and Darug woman said.
Shannay’s brother, Josh, died from pneuomonia and glandular fever when he was 19. His death had a major impact on Shannay, who was 11 at the time. Source: Supplied / Shannay Holmes
“It is one of those, ‘push it down, pack it in and then move on with your everyday life’. But trauma doesn’t just wait for you, it comes up in everyday life.”
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people die of suicide at more than double the rate of the general population. According to 2020 data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 5.5 per cent of First Nations people die of suicide, compared to 1.9 per cent of non-First Nations People.
Now, new data has revealed that her experience of leaning on those she trusts for support is not only uncommon but encouraged for those who need it most.
Are Australians happy?
A national report released on Monday to mark World Mental Health day has revealed one in two Australians have reached out for mental health support, and 90 per cent of those felt better afterwards.
According to the report, two-thirds of Australians have felt happy over the past three months, citing the support and love of their friend or partner, as well as socialising and physical activity as reasons for their happiness.
First Nations and LGBTIQ+ Australians have rated their mental health lower than that of the general public, according to new data released on Monday. Source: SBS News
When asking people to self-rate their mental health on a scale from zero (poor mental health) to 10 (excellent mental health), the overall score for Australians was 6.7.
While Mental Health Australia CEO Leanne Beagley was optimistic about the overall happiness of Australians, the mental health levels of priority groups like First Nations and LGBTIQ+ people have left her “very concerned”.
Mental Health Australia’s report als found that Indigenous Australians who accessed support experienced barriers such as fear of discrimination, previous negative experiences, financial barriers, and lack of access to support services in their local area.