Stigma and Suicide

1 September 2010
Overcoming the Stigma of Suicide explores the origins and impacts of suicide stigma, and using insight from those with lived experience, proposes that suicide stigma can be overcome. Suicide attracts a unique kind of stigma, which impacts on people with lived experience of suicide by damaging social relationships and removing help seeking avenues for those in need.This stigma can and should be challenged and reduced in a safe and compassionate way. By reducing the stigma of suicide, through open dialogue and increased discussion and understanding, the whole of the community can become involved in its prevention and improve the lives of those affected. Currently, the stigma of suicide continues to inhibit suicide prevention efforts and inflict suffering on those with lived experience of suicide. Suicide attracts a unique kind of stigma, which impacts on people with lived experience of suicide by damaging social relationships and removing help seeking avenues for those in need.This stigma can and should be challenged and reduced in a safe and compassionate way. By reducing the stigma of suicide, through open dialogue and increased discussion and understanding, the whole of the community can become involved in its prevention and improve the lives of those affected. Currently, the stigma of suicide continues to inhibit suicide prevention efforts and inflict suffering on those with lived experience of suicide. The position statement recommends that widespread suicide prevention awareness campaigns, utilising multi-level and multi-site strategies, can reduce stigma and increase help-seeking behaviours. Careful planning and sustainable resources are pre-requisites to the success of a suicide stigma reduction campaign. Suicide Prevention Australia is proud to have launched at the World Suicide Prevention Day community forum the position statement ‘Overcoming the Stigma of Suicide’. The position statement was officially launched by Estell Dragun (Mental Health Advocate) to an audience of some 200 plus industry experts, those who have been touched by suicide and other peak bodies. We were delighted to have input from an expert reference group, Chaired by Barbara Hocking, Executive Director, SANE Australia and Dr Michael Dudley, Chair SPA, both members of Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council.