Australia's "national emergency" hits us the hardest

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.

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“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

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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 www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support