SUICIDE prevention isn’t just a health issue, but instead requires government action across a range of policy areas.
That’s the message from Suicide Prevention Australia on World Suicide Prevention Day this 10 September.
The charity’s 2021 State of the Nation report found 66 per cent of Australians agree the government should take a holistic and not just health approach to suicide prevention through a stand-alone Act.
CEO Nieves Murray agrees.
“Suicide prevention isn’t limited to health portfolios,” she said.
“Housing is suicide prevention, employment is suicide prevention, finance is suicide prevention, and education is suicide prevention.
“We’ve seen how quickly COVID-19 cases can get out of hand and we need to have the same national policy focus and vigilance to stop suicide rates doing the same.”
Other findings from the State of the Nation survey include that one in four Australians say they know someone who has died by or attempted suicide.
The biggest risks for suicide over the next year include social isolation, unemployment and relationship breakdowns.
The State of the Nation report comes as Lifeline is organising a new Out of the Shadows campaign to raise awareness, challenge the stigma and create hope around suicide.
In remembrance of the nine lives lost to suicide in the country every day, Lifeline is encouraging Australians this Friday to take a walk, plant a thought and connect, listen and talk.
That walk could be virtual, or it could consist of 3,318 steps to represent the number of suicides in the last reporting period in 2019, Lifeline said.
The thought could be planted physically or in a Lifeline virtual garden, where flowers such as morning flags and magenta mists adorn digital dedications to lives lost to suicide.
Connect, Listen and Talk is a compilation of video, written and audio stories of hope beyond suicide available on the Out of the Shadows website.
AFL player Archie Smith appears in a video to talk about the experience of losing his 21-year-old younger brother Sebastian to suicide in 2020.
“You have to let someone know if you’re not feeling ok – there is hope and there is evidence that people do get better,” Mr Smith said.