Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia for men and women between the ages of 15-44. Young Australians are more likely to take their own life than to die in a motor vehicle accident.
In addition to these deaths there is a much larger number of people each year who attempt suicide, many who go unreported.
This World Suicide Prevention Day (10 Sept), Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service Clinical Director Mental Health and Addiction Services Dr Chris Lilley said communities can play a critical role in suicide prevention.
“Prevention of suicide can’t be accomplished by one person or one organisation. We all need to rally to provide support to those who may be vulnerable, fight the stigma that sadly still exists around suicide and support those impacted by suicide.
“Being involved in prevention is as simple as taking the time to notice what is going on with your family, friends and colleagues. If you feel something is not right, start a conversation.
“Often people are concerned that they may make the situation worse or they don’t know what to say, this is completely natural,” Dr Lilley said.
“The power of showing someone that you care and are willing to listen cannot be underestimated. Try to encourage them to talk to a professional to assist them with how they are feeling.
“These are tough conversations to have, if you don’t think you can follow through don’t ignore it, try and find someone who can. There are many useful services and supports you can reach out to those who can help”.
Dr Lilley said: “Community and the role we all play cannot be underestimated. A sense of belonging and being connected to and supported by a community is an important protective factor to prevent suicide”.
If you know someone who needs help, or you need help, you can contact:
Lifeline, 24-hour national telephone crisis counselling service and online counselling.
Telephone: 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au
Beyondblue: 24-hour telephone support and online chat service with links to local services.
Telephone: 1300 22 4636 or www.beyondblue.org.au