Se­nate to in­ves­ti­gate sui­cide rate

Broome Advertiser - - News - Peter de Krui­jff If you or some­one you know is think­ing about sui­cide phone Life­line on 13 11 14.

The Kim­ber­ley Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Trial will be one of sev­eral ini­tia­tives ex­am­ined in a Se­nate in­quiry into re­gional men­tal health ser­vice ac­cess.

La­bor and the Greens were suc­cess­ful in their push to make the in­quiry a re­al­ity last week.

Its broad scope is to look into why re­gional res­i­dents were ac­cess­ing men­tal health ser­vices at lower rates than city dwellers de­spite both pop­u­la­tions hav­ing about one in five peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a men­tal dis­or­der ev­ery year.

The Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice raised con­cerns ear­lier this year that re­mote Aus­tralians were ac­cess­ing men­tal health ser­vices at 20 per cent of the rate those in the city were.

The in­quiry will also look into the high rate of sui­cide in the re­gions, the men­tal health work­force, de­liv­ery chal­lenges and other is­sues.

La­bor Se­na­tor Deb­o­rah O’Neill said the in­quiry was cru­cial to ad­dress­ing the in­ci­dence of men­tal ill health in ru­ral and re­mote Aus­tralia.

“The rate of men­tal ill health and sui­cide in ru­ral and re­mote Aus­tralia, and par­tic­u­larly among our First Na­tions peo­ples, is heart­break­ing and is a call to ac­tion,” she said.

“La­bor ac­knowl­edges the work the Pri­mary Health Net­works and steer­ing groups are un­der­tak­ing across all of the 12 sui­cide pre­ven­tion trial sites.

“As the trial sites are now al­most two years into a three-year trial, there is grow­ing sup­port from the men­tal health sec­tor for Gov­ern­ment to con­sider ex­tend­ing the tri­als.

“What La­bor has asked the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment to con­sider is that each of the 12 sui­cide pre­ven­tion trial sites have equal op­por­tu­nity to com­mis­sion on-ground ser­vices.”

In­dige­nous Health Min­is­ter Ken Wy­att said he wel­comed any­thing which would lead to im­proved de­liv­ery and up­take of men­tal health ser­vices.

“I com­mend the ded­i­ca­tion of those work­ing in the sui­cide pre­ven­tion trial sites pro­gram, es­pe­cially the im­por­tant and con­tin­u­ing in­put from younger peo­ple in the Kim­ber­ley and Dar­win,” he said.

Sub­mis­sions are sought by May 11 to the in­quiry with a fi­nal re­port due Oc­to­ber 17.

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