Sui­cide rate reaches a new peak in 2017

Gatton Star - - NEWS -

KEEP­ING an eye out for signs of strug­gle in friends and fam­ily is more im­por­tant than ever, with Aus­tralia’s sui­cide rate reach­ing a 10-year high.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased by the Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics, the na­tional sui­cide rate in­creased by 9.1 per cent over the pre­vi­ous year as 3128 peo­ple took their own lives in 2017.

Last year’s rate of 12.6 deaths per 100,000 is equal to the high­est recorded rate in the past decade, which was set in 2015.

This ex­ceeds the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s global av­er­age sui­cide mor­tal­ity rate by 2.1 per cent.

Queens­land re­ported the largest in­crease in the coun­try, with 804 deaths last year com­pared with 674 in 2016.

Not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion Lives Lived Well has fa­cil­i­tated the Beyond­blue men­tal health pro­gram Newac­cess in Gat­ton for the past three months.

Lives Lived Well south­west Queens­land clin­i­cal ser­vices man­ager James Cur­tain said they were see­ing pos­i­tive steps taken by peo­ple who had never be­fore ac­cessed help in their lives.

“For the peo­ple that are ac­cess­ing the pro­gram, we’re get­ting about a 70 per cent suc­cess rate we call it, which is in terms of the goals that peo­ple are set­ting,” he said.

“The trend that we’re see­ing is peo­ple who wouldn’t nor­mally ac­cess any sort of sup­port ser­vices are start­ing to en­gage with this one. There gen­er­ally hasn’t been a ser­vice like this (in the re­gion).

“The in­ten­tion is to pick up these peo­ple and gave them an op­por­tu­nity to ac­cess this be­fore the prob­lems worsen to a point where things might seem over­whelm­ing ... it might be trou­ble sleep­ing, stress at work or re­la­tion­ship prob­lems that are caus­ing a bit of anx­i­ety that they can’t re­solve them­selves.”

Mr Cur­tain said it was im­por­tant to go be­yond just ask­ing if a friend or fam­ily mem­ber was OK if you no­ticed a change in their per­son­al­ity.

Ask­ing if they needed ex­tra sup­port or seek­ing ad­vice on how to bet­ter en­gage them could prove cru­cial.

Visit the Lives Lived Well web­site or phone 1300 971 309 for more in­for­ma­tion on the Newac­cess pro­gram.

■ If or you or some­one you love is in cri­sis or needs sup­port, help is avail­able. Phone Life­line on 131 114 or Beyond­blue on 1300 224 636.

— Lach­lan Mcivor

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