Death stats need action
INVESTMENT IN YOUTH HELP URGED
DESPITE figures showing a drop in the number of suicide-related deaths across Australia, Burswood-based organisation Youth Focus believes more investment and awareness is needed to save young lives.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics report Causes of Death 2016 shows that 2866 people died from intentional self-harm in Australia, compared to 3027 the previous year.
In WA, 371 people died as a result of suicide last year, compared to 394 in 2015.
This included 54 young people aged between 15 and 24, slightly down from 55 the previous year.
Youth Focus community engagement general manager Chris Harris said the rate of youth suicide had reached crisis point and the statistics were a “call to action”.
“The rate of suicide, which is the most preventable cause of death in young people, is not acceptable,” he said.
“It is not OK that any young person believes that ending their life is a preferred choice.”
The ABS data shows suicide deaths accounted for a greater proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths at 5.5 per cent compared to non-indigenous Australians 1.7 per cent.
“The data reflects high rates of suicide for the traditional owners of our country,” Mr Harris said.
“It is imperative that we work collaboratively with Aboriginal communities to find the right solutions to changing this.”
Mr Harris said experts were hopeful that the high number of young people taking their own lives could be arrested.
“To reverse these numbers we have to work together as a community,” he said. “It is a social responsibility to ensure young people receive the support they need at the earliest opportunity.”
If you or someone you know needs urgent support, call the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.