Suicide Prevention Day: Commitment and Action
To die of sickness, an accident or in the hands of another, dying is unwelcome but inevitable. However, when we hear of someone dying because of suicide, the impact is extremely devastating. Losing a loved one through suicide creates a hole in the hearts and minds of those left behind. It has a very confronting and unsettling impact on families, friends and even acquaintances.
Australian Statistics on the Suicide rate
Suicide, as believed by most, is preventable. Take for example Lifeline. Lifeline is one of Australia’s largest suicide prevention service providers. They share statistics on their website. According to their website, in a given year, there are at least 1 million Australians who reach out to their service for support. Furthermore, they share the following:
- 1 out of 4 Australians is lonely. They feel that they have no one to talk to, thus Lifeline’s service.
- Each day, 8 Australians take their own lives. This doubles the status of road/traffic-related accidents.
- Males are the most prone to suicide, totalling roughly 75% of the total suicides in Australia.
- Yearly, over 65,000 Australians attempt to take their own life.
- As per 2018 statistics, 3,046 Australians did take their own life.
- On average, Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 to 44 years old.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rate is double than those who are non-Indigenous.
- The rates are 2 times higher in rural populations.
- The LGBTI+ community suffers the highest rates of suicide per year compared to the rest of the populace.
- Australians who have a same-gender attraction experience 14-times higher rates of suicide attempts than their heterosexual counterpart.
- 85 years old males and older experience the highest “age-specific” rate.
- Lifeline estimates that when suicide happens 135 people feel it. This includes those affiliated to the deceased like family, relatives, friends, work colleagues and acquaintances.
Worldwide Statistics on the Suicide rate
World Health Organization shares another set of stats. These are based on worldwide statistics:
- Each year, close to 800,000 people take their own lives, worldwide.
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the 15 to 19 years of age bracket.
- Low and middle-income countries suffer the highest rate of suicides, reaching up to 79%.
- The most common methods used in committing suicide are hanging, ingestion of pesticides and firearms.
How to address the issue?
When addressing the problem of suicide, prevention and control is not impossible. A deep partnership between the family and the community is needed. Reducing the access to pesticides, firearms and certain medication is highly recommended for a home with one of its members showing signs of suicide. There are also community-based interventions, community mental health services, general practitioners and private mental health clinicians who can play a part in addressing suicidality on both an individual level but also from a community-wide aspect.
Telehealth for Regional Australia
In Australia’s regional areas, there are services that are available such as telehealth. Since travelling at present time may be a bit difficult due to the pandemic, online mental health support has gained popularity. GPs from across regional areas have begun referring their patients, especially those who are suicidal, to receive mental health support through Medicare telehealth, Australia. These services, such as telehealth psychiatry and telehealth psychology are bulk-billed for regional areas. This is partly because statistics show that suicide rates are 2 times higher in rural populations.
If you know anyone who is suffering from depression or anxiety, and especially those speaking of harming themselves, do not hesitate to call helplines or talk to your family’s GP for a possible referral to get the professional help that you or your loved one needs.
*Call Helpline 13 11 14 to reach Lifeline Australia for suicide prevention, crisis support and mental health support services