Regional Australians are more likely to know multiple people who have died by suicide (67%) in their lifetime compared to their city counterparts (60%) – new research has revealed for the first time.
It comes as the findings also show growing concerns the economy, jobs (+7%), cost of living (+4%) and drugs and alcohol use (+5%) will increase suicide rates in the regions in the wake of COVID19.
National peak body, Suicide Prevention Australia, today released the regional-specific results in the lead up to World Suicide Prevention Day on Thursday (10 September 2020).
CEO Nieves Murray said over 4 million regional Australians had been personally impacted by suicide, with 66% of those living outside city limits supporting the Federal Government introducing a standalone National Suicide Prevention Act that takes a whole of government, not just mental health, approach.
“I live in our regions and you only have to look around and see that global disasters like COVID19 hit our local economies, communities and services harder and faster than our capital cities,” Ms Murray said.
“The better we can proactively predict what economic and social risks are facing our regional and rural communities, the better we can prepare Australians and prevent suicide rates increasing.”
“International evidence shows the best way to achieve this is through a standalone National Suicide Prevention Act that embeds a whole of government, not just a mental health, response,” Ms Murray said.
In some encouraging news, Ms Murray said a third (30%) of regional Australians had accessed a suicide prevention service – either on their behalf or someone else – the same rate as their city counterparts.
The regional results are from an exclusive YouGov poll of over 1000 Australians commissioned by Suicide Prevention Australia as part of World Suicide Prevention Day 2020.
“In shining a light on suicide prevention, it’s important to not only help those in need, but also support Australians to know what to say beyond RUOK?” Ms Murray said.
Threats to Suicide: Regional (2020, increase since 2019) vs City (2020, Increase since 2019):
- Cost of Living/Personal Debt: Regional (68%, +4%) vs City (61%, -1%)
- Economy/Jobs: Regional (55%, +7%) vs City (57%, +4%)
- Drugs/Alcohol: Regional (72%, +5%) vs City (64%, +0%)
- Social Isolation/Loneliness: Regional (66%, +6%) vs City (66%, +3%)
- Family/Relationships: Regional (58%, +8%) vs City (53%, +5%)
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.
About the survey
All of the above survey results, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov plc. Total sample size was 1026 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 23rd – 26th July 2020. 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 2018 (3,046)
- 8+ deaths each day by suicide in Australia on average (8.4)
- 4 males per day
- 2 females per day
- 75% of suicide deaths were men in Australia (2,320)
- 65,000 suicide attempts each year (est.)
- Each year, around 100,000 Australians attempt suicide and it is estimated that more than 500,000 Australians have attempted suicide at some time in their life.
- 2x: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had a rate of suicide approximately twice that of non-Indigenous people in Australia.
Help to report about suicide safely is available online: Go to www.mindframe-media.info