Sydney-based social media influencer Ariella Nyssa is reaching out to other young people on Suicide Prevention Day to say it’s okay to talk online about suicide.
Ariella has partnered with Orygen as an ambassador to promote Orygen's #chatsafe guidelines, which provide tools and tips to help young people communicate safely online about suicide.
Over the next six weeks Ariella will be using social media to help tackle the increasing rate of suicide among young Australians as she talks about the #chatsafe guidelines and encourages young people to reach out, talk and help each other.
Suicide is the leading cause of death of young Australians aged 12-25.
“As someone who has been suicidal, I believe it’s really important that we overcome the taboo of talking about suicide and mental health issues,” said Ms Nyssa.
Following a three-month marriage at the age of 18, Ariella divorced the man she said she hardly knew and was then ostracised from her Christian community. With her parents overseas, Ariella felt alone and was suicidal.
“When we broke up my whole community turned against me. They ignored me, avoided me and some even verbally abused me,” said Ariella.
“I lost sight of who I was, what I love, my interests. My whole world crashed around me.”
Ariella began posting on Instagram in 2016 as part of her recovery journey.
“I started seeing a psychologist and my boyfriend saw that I was watching a lot of YouTube videos and Instagram bloggers and said ‘you’d be so good at that.’
“My self-esteem was so low from everything that had happened I didn’t think I could – but I started posting – just for me, as a hobby.”
“After I won a bikini modelling completion I posted some photos and my Insta just blew-up.”
“A lot of my messages are about self-love, and loving yourself through every season of life – something I wish I had known sooner.”
“My message behind my Instagram is about being real,” said Ariella.
Ariella said she is excited to be talking about the #chatsafe guidelines on her Instagram.
“I’m a big believer in realness and being real on social media.”
“Mental health and feeling suicidal is something we should be able to talk about.”
“I know a lot of the girls that follow me struggle with their mental health and body image. I get lots of messages from girls who feel like they can’t go on and need some help and guidance.”
“I think it’s amazing that chatsafe is an online platform and I am excited to talk about it,” said Ariella
Zoe Teh, a former youth advisor to Orygen and now a research assistant with the Orygen #chatsafe team, said the guidelines were designed by young people, for young people.
“We’re really excited to have young role models like Ariella on board to let young people know that there are safe ways to talk online about suicide, and to let them know that we hear you, and we see you,” Zoe said.
The #chatsafe guidelines were first released in August 2018 and have since been made available to Facebook’s 2.41 billion users internationally.
Development of the #chatsafe guidelines was funded by the Australian Government, under the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program.