The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has today released data which shows 644,600 people reported suicidal thoughts or behaviours in the past 12 months. These data come one week after official figures revealed an increase in suicide rates (3,249) last year.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO, Nieves Murray said, “The continuing impact of unacceptably high suicide rates and suicidal behaviour across Australia demonstrates a need for urgent reform. Any increase is unacceptable, and we need to remain focussed on driving down suicide rates and addressing factors driving distress like cost- of- living and social isolation.
“It’s essential to remember those touched by suicide or suicidal behaviour and how this data may impact them today.
“We can’t ignore that research indicates it’s two to three years post-disaster that rates of suicide can increase, and now, two to three years after COVID, the warning signs can’t be ignored.
“We know that suicide is complex and often linked to many risk factors like personal debt, unemployment, family breakdown and mental health,” said Ms Murray.
Suicide Prevention Australia’s Community Tracker revealed ‘cost-of-living and personal debt’ was the highest cause of distress for the fifth quarter in a row in the September 2023 Quarter (46%) nationally.
Suicide Prevention Australia has been advising government, business and economic leaders on increased levels of distress in our communities, and they are being urged again to prepare for what may be distressing news for many in the community.
Ms Murray said, “Access to data is incredibly important in suicide prevention. It helps to inform how we approach suicide prevention and influences service and program delivery. We need more timely data on suicide attempts to better understand and respond to distress in our communities.
“Now is not the time to run out of steam on suicide prevention. It is critical that we continue to deliver on national, structural, and much-needed reform to turn these numbers towards zero,” said Ms Murray.
- 644,600 people reported suicidal thoughts or behaviours in the last 12 months.
- 54,800 Australians have attempted suicide in the past 12 months.
- Around a quarter (163,100) of Australians who had suicidal thoughts or behaviours in the past 12 months had no symptoms of a mental disorder or had never met diagnostic criteria for a mental disorder.
- Two in five Australian (36.2%) at some point had been close to someone who took or attempted to take their own life, 4.7% had been close to someone who had taken or attempted to take their own life in the last 12 months.
The National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing is a comprehensive national picture of mental disorders in the community and gives a snapshot of wellbeing. These data also uncover the level of suicidal behaviour which is an important indicator of distress in our communities.
Ms Murray said, “It’s important to remember the people behind each number. Anyone feeling overwhelmed should reach out to friends, family, and or professional support services. Our member organisations are ready and able to provide support, resources, and a listening ear.”
Help to report about suicide safely is available online: Go to https://mindframe.org.au/
Tom Anderson 0409 718 271 firstname.lastname@example.org
Clare Kinsella 0427 689 689 email@example.com