Death stats need ac­tion

IN­VEST­MENT IN YOUTH HELP URGED

Hills Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Aaron Cor­lett

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, com- pared 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.

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