Suicide Prevention Australia CEO, Nieves Murray, is once again taking part in the St Vincent de Paul Society CEO sleepout tonight, Thursday 17 June, in the Illawarra to raise awareness of homelessness in Australia.
Although research is sparse, people experiencing homelessness have higher rates of suicidal ideation and suicide than the general population. One Australian study found people who are homeless experience almost double the suicide rate.
While suicide has been framed primarily as a mental health issue, social determinants of wellbeing, such as housing stress, economic hardship and homelessness, are major factors to address in preventing suicide.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO, Nieves Murray said, “There has to be a much broader understanding of suicide prevention and that involves looking closely at housing stability and homelessness. Access to secure housing is vital to keeping people safe and ultimately reducing distress.
“The annual sleepout is just one way to help raise awareness and hopefully motivate policy change. Identifying people at risk of homelessness is important to prevent more people living rough. In addition, Government investment in housing options is critical,” said Ms Murray.
Interventions for suicide prevention among homeless populations should be comprehensive and comprise housing and social support as well as mental health services. There is a need to better integrate mental health and homelessness services and have a greater focus on housing that is affordable as well as better welfare support.
“It’s heartbreaking to know that over 3,000 people die by suicide each year and we can never underestimate the impact that every life lost to suicide has on family, friends, workplaces and the broader community,” said Ms Murray.
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.
Clare Kinsella 0427 689 689
Amelia Banks 0410 591 134
Help to report about suicide safely is available online: Go to www.mindframe-media.info