National survey reveals high levels of stigma and low levels of suicide literacy

10 September 2017

Survey findings released on World Suicide Prevention Day today indicate that Australians have mixed attitudes and behaviours towards people who die by suicide and an inaccurate understanding about suicide and its prevention. 

View the full media release. Download infographics at the end of this news item.

This nationally representative survey was conducted by Colmar Brunton in August 2017 and included two sets of questions relating to suicide prevention. Survey respondents were asked to complete the Literacy of Suicide Scale (LOSS) and a short form Stigma of Suicide Scale (SOSS), both of which have been validated through a range of suicide prevention research, programs and trials.

Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Sue Murray said of the findings: “Evidence tells us that stigmatising attitudes result in people being less likely to get help or give help. If we don’t speak up about persistent stigma, we are at risk of perpetuating a society where we remain reluctant to reach out for help for ourselves or others.”

This year’s WSPD theme ‘Take a minute, change a life’ highlights the importance of speaking up, taking the time, and listening.

“It is reassuring to learn through this survey that more than 70% of Australians think that people who are suicidal should tell others about it. It shows we are willing to help others. We are willing to listen.”

“I am also encouraged by the finding that increased knowledge about suicidal behaviours and how to manage them seems to correlate with a lower level of stigma. This tells me that as well as reflecting on our personal attitudes and behaviours, we must continue efforts to improve every Australian’s understanding of suicide and its prevention.”

“We must work to debunk the myths surrounding suicide and change the way we think and communicate about its prevention. These are big changes, but changes that need to begin with the individual, the family, and the community.  This is how we can change a life. This is how we can improve all our lives”.

Resources

10 September 2017
Survey findings released on World Suicide Prevention Day today indicate that Australians have mixed attitudes and behaviours towards people who die by suicide and an inaccurate understanding about suicide and its prevention.
10 September 2017
Infographic developed for World Suicide Prevention Day 2017 as part of a series to share findings from a national survey on stigma and suicide literacy on social media.
10 September 2017
Infographic developed for World Suicide Prevention Day 2017 as part of a series to share findings from a national survey on stigma and suicide literacy on social media.
10 September 2017
Infographic developed for World Suicide Prevention Day 2017 as part of a series to share findings from a national survey on stigma and suicide literacy on social media.
10 September 2017
Infographic developed for World Suicide Prevention Day 2017 as part of a series to share findings from a national survey on stigma and suicide literacy on social media.