WARNING: This article mentions suicide.
The whole world plunged into a new era of uncertainty as news of the Novel Coronavirus unfolded. As populations around the world came to grips with the disease and adjusted to a new normal, effects of the virus started to seep into other areas of our lives, namely our mental health, and suicide rates started to climb.
Here in Australia, we were met with some of the strictest lockdown guidelines in the world, leading to job loss, displacement, isolation, an increase in domestic violence and an overwhelming sense of helplessness.
Suicide Prevention Australia has been working hard to introduce a Suicide Prevention Act to be introduced into federal legislation. The overwhelming social issues that Australians are facing right now have led to a spike in suicide rates never before seen in this country.
Suicide Prevention Australia has gathered information for the second State of the Nation report to be released next week, stating that, “One in four Australians report knowing someone who died by suicide during the past 12 months of the pandemic”. A staggering statistic that suggests the urgency required for the federal government to introduce Suicide Prevention Act.
CEO of Suicide Prevention Australia Nieves Murray said: “Suicide prevention isn’t limited to health portfolios. Housing is suicide prevention, employment is suicide prevention, finance is suicide prevention, and education is suicide prevention.
“We know social and economic isolation are the biggest drivers of suicide rates and COVID-19 has seen Australians subject to 18 months of rolling lockdowns and disruption to their personal lives, employment and businesses.”
“We’ve seen how quickly COVID-19 cases can get out of hand and we need to have the same national policy focus and vigilance to stop suicide rates doing the same.”
For more information on how to navigate through any challenges that may arise from COVID or other issues may throw at you, Lifeline has a wealth of resources available here.
If you or anyone you know needs help: Lifeline — 13 11 14; MensLine Australia — 1300 789 978; BeyondBlue — 1300 224 636; Suicide Call Back Service — 1300 659 467; Headspace — 1800 650 890; Kids Helpline — 1800 551 800