A little encouragement, a huge difference | editorial

OUR story today of a young mum of four children, who found the strength and resources to recover from a health and life crisis that brought on suicidal thoughts, is inspiring in many ways.

Binny Smith told us she might not be here if it hadn’t been for the care she was shown by a stranger – a nurse who saw her distress, hugged her and encouraged her.

That nurse, Jayne Launt, says she might have provided some brief comfort but the real hero is Binny herself for keeping up the fight.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people on social media have poured out words of praise and support for both of them.

A distressing incident has turned into a hugely positive one for all involved.

lllnesses such as depression and anxiety may still be often misunderstood and sometimes stigmatised, but the conversation about them is becoming more open and honest every day.

Both Binny and Jayne say this is part of the reason why they were happy to share the story of their encounter.

According to statistics from beyondblue, in any one year about one million Australian adults have depression, and more than two million have anxiety.

That means a lot – a lot – of us are dealing with similar challenges.

While it’s quite normal that some of us want to keep our health matters to ourselves, more people sharing their experiences means greater understanding, help to access related services, and more social support.

And this latter point is the most crucial part of Binny’s story.

While there are health services, medical professionals and even volunteers available just about anywhere, anytime to help someone who’s struggling, Binny makes the point that sometimes people aren’t willing or able to seek that help.

Yes, in this situation it happened to be a nurse who comforted this person, but we have no doubt she would have done the same outside of work; she just saw someone in pain and feeling alone.

So – without minimising the critical role she played, or the role of professional help – Jayne didn’t really do anything the average person couldn’t do.

Instead of shying away, judging or expecting people to seek help themselves, couldn’t we all just keep an eye on each other, and give a little encouragement where it could be needed?


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