Sui­cide at new high

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS -

WA has recorded its high­est num­ber of deaths by sui­cide in more than a decade, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­leased last week by the Aus­tralia Bureau of Sta­tis­tics.

Last year, 409 West Aus­tralians took their lives – up more than 10 per cent on the pre­vi­ous year.

Sui­cide re­mains the big­gest killer of young West Aus­tralians aged 15 to 24, with 51 young peo­ple tak­ing their lives in 2017.

Na­tion­ally, the sui­cide rate in­creased by 9.1 per cent over 12 months, with 3128 recorded deaths by sui­cide.

In 2017, sui­cide re­mained the lead­ing cause of death of chil­dren aged from five to 17 years, with 98 deaths oc­cur­ring in this age group. This rep­re­sents a 10.1 per cent in­crease in deaths from 2016.

Life­line chair John Brog­den called on the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to set a na­tional tar­get to achieve a 25 per cent sui­cide re­duc­tion over five years.

“We must set a tar­get to fo­cus gov­ern­ments’ fund­ing and the com­mu­nity on sui­cide re­duc­tion,” he said.

“In 2002, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment set a tar­get to re­duce sui­cide by 20 per cent in 10 years.

“The num­ber of deaths of sui­cide in Scot­land in 2015 was the low­est it has been since 1974.”

Sui­cide Preven­tion Aus­tralia chief Nieves Mur­ray said the fig­ures showed sui­cide was a grow­ing pub­lic health con­cern.

“We must use this data to strengthen our re­solve,” he said.

Ms Mur­ray said work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tively to pre­vent sui­cide was vi­tal when sup­port­ing peo­ple with a com­plex men­tal ill­ness, or drug or al­co­hol ad­dic­tion.

“Pre­lim­i­nary data showed that 43 per cent of peo­ple who died by sui­cide in 2017 were liv­ing with a mood dis­or­der like de­pres­sion, 29.5 per cent with a drug and al­co­hol use dis­or­der, and 17.5 per cent with anx­i­ety,” she said.

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