Lifeline urges focus on hope and recovery

Young man, outdoor in winter wearing sweater hood, looking away thinking. UAE, Abu Dhabi. September 28, 2017

National suicide data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has shown a slight reduction in deaths by suicide.

Sadly, there are still about eight lives lost to suicide every day in Australia.

Lifeline Research Foundation Executive Director Alan Woodward said the national charity is urging the community to focus not just on the tragic numbers, but on the paths to recovery of about 100,000 Australians who experience suicide ideation each year.

“The ABS data represents the immense and overpowering challenges that many Australian’s experience, from loneliness and relationship breakdown to economic hardship and mental illness,” Mr Woodward said.

“These issues are reflected in the million requests for help received by Lifeline’s 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services each year.

“Our message to people who might be struggling is that tough times do pass – they do for many thousands of Australians each year and they can for you too.”

Mr Woodward also said that the last year had seen important changes in the country’s approach to suicide prevention.

“We have seen an increase in community-driven suicide prevention activities, stronger national leadership and bi-partisan support for stopping suicide,” Mr Woodward said. “However, the numbers show, we need to redouble our efforts to properly tackle this heartbreaking public health issue.”

Key findings from the 2016 national suicide data release include:

  • 2866 people died by suicide (2151 males, 715 females) at a rate of 11.7 per 100,000;
  • About eight lives are lost to suicide every day;
  • The rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide remains twice as high as the general population, with 162 deaths across the country;
  • The rates for males and females aged 20-24 are at their highest in more than a decade, at 23.3 per 100,000 and 7.7 per 100,000; and
  • All States and Territories except for Tasmania experienced a drop in suicide rates. Queensland’s rates dropped from 15.7 per 100,000 to 13.9 per 100,000.

Lifeline Melbourne and Lifeline Ballarat are programs of Uniting. To find out more, visit www.vt.uniting.org/services/lifeline.

If you or someone you know is in need of crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.

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