Cos­grove calls for new plan to re­duce sui­cides

Townsville Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE -

MORE Aus­tralians have taken their own lives in the past seven decades than have been killed in war, Gover­nor- Gen­eral Sir Peter Cos­grove says, in a chill­ing anal­y­sis of the enor­mity of the prob­lem of sui­cide.

The for­mer mil­i­tary leader on Mon­day opened the Na­tional Sui­cide Preven­tion Con­fer­ence in Ho­bart and called on all Aus­tralians to play a part in tack­ling the lead­ing cause of death among peo­ple aged un­der 44.

“For my life­time, in 68 years, we have seen more Aus­tralians tak­ing their own life than all of the ca­su­al­ties we list on the wall at the Aus­tralian War Me­mo­rial,” Sir Peter told the con­fer­ence of nearly 400 del­e­gates.

All Aus­tralians have a role to play in sui­cide preven­tion, he said.

“It is ... im­por­tant that we keep our ‘ emo­tional radar’ switched on ev­ery day so that we are there for peo­ple who may be feel­ing vul­ner­a­ble.’’

Sir Peter said ev­ery year, 370,000 Aus­tralians think about tak­ing their own lives and there are 65,000 sui­cide at­tempts.

“The sad fact con­tin­ues to claim many Aus­tralians,” Gen­eral said.

“This is not a sit­u­a­tion that any so­ci­ety can tol­er­ate.”

There was no easy so­lu­tion and no sin­gle plan of at­tack, he added.

“What we do know is that we have to try some­thing dif­fer­ent.”

Mi­nor­ity groups were par­tic­u­larly at risk of sui­cide, he said.

“The dif­fi­cul­ties and dis­crim­i­na­tion still faced by les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans and in­ter­sex peo­ple is re­flected in the fact that they are 14 times more likely to try to take their lives than mem­bers of the het­ero­sex­ual com­mu­nity,” Sir Peter said.

The con­fer­ence ended yesterday and heard from a range of na­tional and global health, re­search and sup­port ex­perts. is that sui­cide the lives of too

the Gover­nor-

Pic­ture: LUKAS COCH

SAD FACTS: Aus­tralian Gover­nor- Gen­eral Sir Peter Cos­grove.

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