Next Big Futures has released the first in a series of reports exploring the mental health and suicide prevention of Australians, including Australia’s suicide rate.
The report, Mental Health and suicide Prevention: lessons from Australia, examines Australia’s national suicide rate, its rate of new suicide deaths, suicide attempts, suicide prevention policies and measures, suicide and mental health service use, and suicide rates in local and remote communities.
It also discusses Australia’s approach to mental health issues in a number of ways, including how to reduce stigma, and the role of social media in helping Australians to better understand mental health.
The report has a number a key points about suicide and suicide attempts in Australia.
It highlights Australia’s recent rise in suicide rates from around 7 per cent in 2016 to 15 per cent last year.
It says suicide attempts are rising faster in Australia than in other OECD countries, and Australia’s rate of suicide deaths has been steadily rising since 2006.
“Suicide has been a major public health challenge for Australia, but there is a disconnect between what Australians need and what the health services are delivering,” Associate Professor Jennifer C. Firth said.
“It is important to look at the linkages between suicide and social and mental wellbeing.
We need to look to understand how suicide is associated with the mental wellbeing of Australian communities and to understand that the links are more complex than the simple cause-and-effect model currently suggests.”
The report also looks at Australia’s current suicide rates and trends, and offers a number recommendations for suicide prevention strategies.
“It is critical that we recognise that Australia has a mental health problem,” Associate Associate Professor Firth explained.
“While suicide is the single biggest preventable cause of death in the country, it is not the only factor that contributes to the rate of death.
A number of strategies are available to help communities and people living with mental health challenges to reduce the risk of suicide. “
If we focus on the long-term, suicide rates are increasing and we need to understand why.”
A number of strategies are available to help communities and people living with mental health challenges to reduce the risk of suicide.
For example, prevention is key to achieving the national suicide prevention target.
“If suicide prevention is the main focus of government and community action, then it is important that we can provide services that are effective at reducing risk of suicides.”
It also highlights the importance of education, training and support to help Australians understand mental illness and mental illness behaviours.
“Australia has one of the highest suicide rates globally, and many Australians still do not have the skills or the skillset to prevent suicide,” Associate Prof. Futher said.
“The key message from the report is that there is still much work to be done.
We should work together to ensure our communities are safe places to live, work and play.”
The Mental Health Commission of Australia is an independent body set up to provide a platform for the discussion and analysis of mental health, mental health policy, and mental healthcare issues.