West Aussies less likely to seek help

Pilbara News - - News - Cathy O’Leary

West Aus­tralians are only half as likely to use cri­sis sup­port ser­vices as oth­ers across the na­tion, de­spite hav­ing one of the high­est sui­cide rates in the coun­try.

Life­line WA chief ex­ec­u­tive Lorna MacGre­gor said 55,266 lo­cal calls were made to the char­ity’s 13 11 14 cri­sis line in 2015-16, show­ing a grow­ing de­mand.

But only the equiv­a­lent of 2 per cent of West Aus­tralians sought help from Life­line com­pared with the na­tional av­er­age of 3.5 per cent.

“Our lat­est statis­tics show that thou­sands more Western Aus­tralians are reach­ing out to our trained cri­sis sup­port­ers, but we also re­main con­cerned that helpseek­ing be­hav­iour in WA is lower than the na­tional av­er­age,” she said.

She said it was con­cern­ing be­cause the sui­cide rate in WA was 14.4 peo­ple per 100,000.

Life­line WA also helped 14,880 peo­ple through its nightly on­line Cri­sis Sup­port Chat ser­vice, a 15 per cent in­crease since last year.

“This in­di­cates the deep iso­la­tion, anx­i­ety and sad­ness ex­pe­ri­enced by many in our com­mu­nity,” Ms MacGre­gor said.

“We also know that due to the stigma around men­tal ill health, many more peo­ple are suf­fer­ing in si­lence.”

“By lead­ing an open con­ver­sa­tion about men­tal ill­ness and sui­cide in our State and de­liv­er­ing more front­line com­mu­nity train­ing, Life­line WA can help more peo­ple who feel like tak­ing their life is the only op­tion.”

Com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion work­shops fo­cus­ing on sui­cide pre­ven­tion and recog­nis­ing signs of men­tal ill­ness health in the work­place showed an in­crease, with 3124 peo­ple at­tend­ing in the past year.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions want­ing de­tails of the work­shops can con­tact Life­line WA on 9261 4444.

If you or some­one you know is think­ing of sui­cide, phone Life­line on 13 11 14 or visit life­linewa.org.au.

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