Australia’s “national emergency” hits us the hardest 9



View Profile

The death of a loved one is devastating in any circumstances, but imagine knowing that the death of your son, father or friend could have been prevented. Imagine knowing that you – or anyone else who came into contact with the person you loved – could have recognised the risk factors and acted quickly to save their life.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, which aligns with RUOK day.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, there are more than 2500 suicides per year. It is believed there are at least 75,000 suicide attempts each year and 370,000 people, or one in eight Australians, think about taking their own life.

While much of the focus today will be on the toll suicide takes on young men, it is worth remembering that the demographic group most likely to take their own lives is actually older men. In fact, men over 80 are three times more likely to commit suicide than their younger counterparts. You can read more about that in our post here.

John Brogden, former NSW Leader of the Opposition from 2002 to 2005 is the chairman of Lifeline Australia. He has attempted suicide in the past. Writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, he says, Australia has failed to implement and fund an effective national suicide strategy.

“So my call today is for suicide to be declared a national emergency. For it to be news every day that seven Australians took their own lives. For us to publish the suicide toll the way we publish the road toll. If we don’t talk about suicide we can’t stem the tide and reduce it.

“It is time to get angry and stay angry until we see suicides drop. The commonwealth, state and territory governments must agree, implement and fund a national suicide strategy as a matter of urgency.”

Peter Joseph, chair of the Black Dog Institute Board, who lost his 30-year-old son to suicide agrees. He told Fairfax media, “We have halved the road toll over 20 years with clever mitigation strategies. We believe we can halve the suicide rate in only four years using systemic, evidence-based strategies.”

People who are considering suicide often display a collection of symptoms or behaviours that signal their intent. BeyondBlue has released the following infographic to help us identify these signs. Be sure to share this post with anyone you think can put the information to good use.

suicide warning


Do you have any experiences or advice you can share that might help others? 

If you are concerned about someone or feel they are at immediate risk of suicide, call Triple 000. Lifeline crisis support is available 24 hours a day on 13 11 14.

For short-term counselling, beyondblue’s support service has trained mental health counsellors available via 1300 22 4636 or


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. It is a national emergency, last year my brother tried to take his life, luckily he survived. He lost his leg after taking pills and laying on his leg causing crush syndrome. Amazingly he now has a new leg and going well

  2. We have lost close family this way and it is heart wrenching so am pleased mental Heath is more open now still not enough but getting better.

  3. Suicide….such a sad way to go! Why are we putting so much pressure on each other that suicide seems the only answer. Please be kind to others!!!

  4. Yes be kind. Words and deeds do hurt. I believe our heart/soul/core/our very being is a beautiful piece of marble. All through our life it gets chipped into a beautiful statue and makes us what we are however sometimes it is not chipped with love but with intention to hurt and wrenching pain often. The marble becomes damaged and is destroyed beyond any repair and so the marble dies.

  5. We are a family still suffering the total fallout, devastation and extreme grief of the loss of my beautiful kind and generous son Mitchell. We strongly appreciate the urgency of this shocking epidemic. I have to thank my brother, broth-in- law and two nephews and one of their partners for taking part in the black dog ride. Let’s all get behind them and stamp this out so no other families feel that there is always someone missing, who should still be here. We love you Mitchy forever xxxxxxxx

  6. My Father took his own life I was the one who found him alone I was devastated for a long time as my Dad was my Hero I was the closest to him My siblings were lucky they did not see what I saw We all miss him deeply that was 16 years ago and it took around 10 years for me to come to terms with it I tried all sorts of counselling but found talking with my Priest was the best He helped me to adapt to the situation You can never really accept Suicide but you can learn to live with it especially when it is part of a Culture My Dads family came from Gypsy background and is common with the men

  7. Lost a son and his son our 1st grandson to suicide .Wouldnt want it to happen to anyone.Will never get over it but really dont know how we could have stopped it.Both had trouble with grog and younger one drugs .Wish l had known how to help them.

  8. People who are helped through their down time and avoid suicide are often astounded a little later in life that they could even have contemplated killing themselves.
    But if someone is determined, it will be hard to stop. 🙁

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *