Increasing number of Australians taking their lives, statistics show

LUJAYN HAWARI

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Australian suicide rates are rising at an alarming speed. Source: Pixabay

A new statistical analysis shows the number of Australians taking their lives is increasing.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases information every year on causes of death in Australia and the most recent statistics show a record of 3027 suicide deaths in 2015.

This equates to around 8 deaths a day.

It is the highest suicide rate in 10 years increasing from 12.2 to 12.7 per 100,000 Australians.

CEO of Sane Australia, Jack Heath believes people are not getting the level of services they need.

“I think there has also been issues in terms of the fragmented system we have with our mental health system across federal state and local territory… there’s been a lot of uncertainty in terms of what funding will be forth coming for different organisations and individuals” he says.

“I also think that there’s an increasing focus in our public discourse about the costs or the burden that different individual groups have… and I do think that we need to be very careful that if we keep on talking about the cost of things, people individually start to consider themselves more and more as a burden and that can be the tipping point leading someone to taking their life.”

Earlier this year, the government released its responses to a 2014 National Mental Health Commission review on the Australian mental health system.

“What they’re [the government] going to be doing is trying to push more resources down to a local and community level… The challenge now is whether or not we can implement those responses that have a material improvement in people’s lives and get the suicide rates down” Heath says.

“The thing is, the feelings we might have on a day to day basis, they can change and things can get better, and we want to give people a sense of hope.” he says.

In a press release, UnitingCare Queensland’s Program Manager, Crisis Support and Suicide Prevention, Lee-Anne Borham called for a national summit to stop suicide.

“What’s clear from the ABS data is that we have a national emergency and we as a sector and a community need to do more and do better… I think we all have the capacity to show compassion which weaves a simple message of hope that we can all contribute to the solution” she says.

Areas where suicide rates have increased include QLD, WA, TAS, and ACT, as well as a slight increase in VIC, NSW, and NT.

Suicide rates only saw a decrease in SA.

If you, or anyone you know is suffering from mental illness, or needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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