Australians are being reminded there is always hope – and help available – this World Suicide Prevention Day 2022 (September 10).
Suicide Prevention Australia’s annual State of the Nation report for 2022 showed 88% of suicide prevention services recorded an increase in demand over the past 12 months – up from 78% in 2020.
The report also found 70% of Australians have experienced elevated distress beyond their normal levels compared with this time last year
Cost-of-living and personal debt was the lead cause (40%), higher for women (44%) than men (36%). This is despite equal levels of overall elevated distress as between women (71%) and men (69%).
Each year over 3,000 people die by suicide and around 65,000 attempt to take their life.
Suicide Prevention Australia, CEO, Nieves Murray said it was encouraging to see that more Australians were seeking help than ever.
“Fortunately, due to awareness raising and stigma reduction, more people are talking about suicide and feeling confident to have conversations with someone they suspect is doing it tough,” said Ms Murray.
Ms Murray announced today the peak body would boost tracking of suicide risk factors from annually to quarterly, to keep a closer eye on elevated distress levels in the community and help its members and governments to respond faster.
“Our members have told us they need more real-time information on distress in the community and suicide risk factors. We will be accelerating our public data collection to quarterly to help understand pressures in the community and better support policy and service responses.
“Access to more timely, reliable data can help service providers prepare and intervene earlier with appropriate solutions.
Ms Murray said World Suicide Prevention Day was also an important time to remember suicide prevention services and staff who worked tirelessly.
“We urge Governments to ensure service providers are supported with appropriate funding and we also need a National Suicide Prevention Act to cope with these increasingly uncertain social and economic times.
Since introducing the 2006 Basic Act for Suicide Prevention, Japan’s suicide deaths have fallen by about 40 percent over the past 15 years, while the number of suicides nationwide hit a 40-year low in 2019.
The Australian public (79%) and suicide prevention sector (75%) support a similar National Suicide Prevention Act being implemented by the Federal Government.
South Australians showed the strongest support of the five mainland states, following their state government introducing a Suicide Prevention Act in the past 12 months. The NSW Labor Opposition has promised to introduce such an Act if it wins the 2023 state election.
Suicide Prevention Australia recently joined with over 40 prominent organisations and individuals – including RUOK?, yourtown, Wesley Mission, ReachOut, MATES and batyr – in an open letter delivered to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and all 227 MPs and Senators calling for a National Suicide Prevention Act to be delivered now.
Ms Murray said, “The clear message today when it comes to suicide prevention is there is hope – and help is available.
“A message of hope is just as critical as encouraging people to reach out for help to keeping suicide rates from rising, as we all work together in our goal towards zero suicides in Australia.
“Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy and the impact spreads across families, schools, workplace, sporting clubs and community groups. For those feeling distress, help is available and it’s important to reach out and seek support,” 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.
Suicide Prevention Australia’s annual State of the Nation in Suicide Prevention report includes a survey of both the public and suicide prevention sector services and workers. *Source: YouGov plc. Total sample size was 1024 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th – 17th August 2022. The survey was completed online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+). **Source: Suicide Prevention Australia survey of the suicide prevention sector, with 283 responses – the equal highest since the report began.
Clare Kinsella 0427 689 689 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Georgina Beasley 0437 552 280 or email@example.com
Troy Bilsborough 0427 063 150 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Help to report about suicide safely is available online: Go to https://mindframe.org.au/