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10+ million Australians impacted by suicide

10+ million Australians impacted by suicide

Over 10 million Australian adults are estimated to know someone who has died by suicide – while 1 in 2 young people (aged 18-24) are impacted by the time they turn 25.

These are the results from an exclusive YouGov poll of over 1000 Australians commissioned by Suicide Prevention Australia in the lead up to World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 on 10 September.

Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray said it was the first time such a number had been linked to the scale of suicide’s reach into the broader community.

“We’re essentially talking about half the adult population being personally touched by suicide one way or another – that’s over 10 million Australian adults,” said Ms Murray.

“The better we can proactively predict what economic and social risks are around the corner, the better we can prepare Australians and prevent suicide rates increasing.”

Ms Murray said this was backed by nearly three-quarters (71%) of Australians wanting government decisions to consider the risk of suicide and put plans in place to mitigate any negative impacts.

The research is part of Suicide Prevention Australia’s work with policy makers to proactively tackle the future risks threatening to drive up suicide rates in the next decade.

Ms Murray commended the Morrison Government on listening to Suicide Prevention Australia’s calls for the appointment of a national suicide prevention advisor within Prime Minister & Cabinet.

The next critical step to delivering a whole-of-government approach, was broadening the National Suicide Prevention Plan beyond the health portfolio if Australia was to build community resilience against future suicide risks.

“We’ve seen the rapid changes in technology, boom and bust economic cycles and natural disasters over the past decade that can rapidly send shock waves through the community and pose real risks to suicide rates,” said Ms Murray.

“Australia has a world-class safety net of mental health and suicide prevention services ready and waiting to help.

“The challenge for this decade is preventing the next wave of stresses – whether they be financial, personal or environmental – transforming into a threat to suicide rates in the first place.”

“We’ve got a new decade with a unique set of challenges fast approaching. We need to act now before suicide rates get worse.”

Key Findings:

  • 56% of Australian adults personally know someone who has died by suicide. That’s equivalent to 10.8 million Australians.  
  • 50% of young Australians (18-25) reported knowing someone who had died by suicide.
  • Half the population or more were concerned the following issues would be the biggest risks to suicide next decade (2020s).
  1. Drugs and alcohol (65%);
  2. Cost of living and personal debt (63%);
  3. Social isolation and loneliness (62%);
  4. Economy and job security (52%);
  5. Family and relationships (49%);
  • 54% of Australians think young people (12-25) are at biggest risk of suicide in the next decade (2020s), closely followed by middle aged Australians (25-55; 48%).
  • This is compared to men (37%); Indigenous Australians (21%) and LGBTQI Australians (19%).
  • 71% of Australians want all government decisions to consider the risk of suicide and have clear plans in place to mitigate any negative impacts following from the decision

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1064 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14-17 August 2019.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+).

Suicide By The Numbers

  • 3000+ deaths due to suicide in 2017 (3,128)
  • 8+ deaths each day by suicide in Australia on average (8.57)
  • 65,000 suicide attempts each year (est.)
  • 180+ suicide attempts each day (est.)
  • 75% of suicide deaths were men in Australia (2,348)
  • 2x: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had a rate of suicide approximately twice that of non-Indigenous people in Australia.

To get help 24/7, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, phone 000 for emergency services.

Help to report about suicide safely is available online: Go to www.mindframe-media.info