New research: suicide affects everyone

The Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative has just released new data which shows that suicide affects everyone and that we all have a role to play in prevention.

Dr Alex Hains, Regional Manager of the Suicide Prevention Collaborative, said that coronial data on the causes of death reveals that there were an average of 2,795 deaths from suicide across Australia over a five year period from 2012 to 2016. This equates to approximately 8 people dying from suicide every day.

“Suicide has over taken traffic accidents as a leading cause of death, with twice as many Australians dying by suicide than in car accidents,” said Dr Hains. 

“Three out of four suicide deaths are male, and more than a third (37%) of people who suicide did not have a mental health condition,” he added.

Local data for the Illawarra Shoalhaven also shows that suicide affects:

  • every social and economic group
  • everyone, regardless of their employment status
  • people from all sexual orientations, gender identities and cultural, religious and language background.

“While suicide rates are highest amongst middle aged people (41-55 years), there is no age group immune to suicide, including people aged 65 years plus,” said Dr Hains.

According to Dr Hains, this is the first time the region has had access to such detailed local data on suicide.

“The Collaborative is using this data to inform a whole range of evidence-based suicide prevention activities across all sectors including health, education and the community.”

With 68% of suicides deaths occurring within people’s homes, Dr Hains encourage people to make their homes safer by securing medications and regularly asking the people around them if they were OK.

“There are some simple, safe steps that friends, family and workmates can take to identify and support someone who is struggling.

“We all have a role to play in suicide prevention. It could be as simple as signing up to do the Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) training, a one-hour online course for just $10, which will help you recognise warning signs for suicide,” Dr Hains said.

“QPR will give you with the skills and confidence to talk to a family member, friend or colleague about their suicidal thoughts and connect them with professional care,” he added.

Register here and learn how to help people at risk of suicide in your community, or contact the Collaborative directly on 1300 069 002 to enquire about QPR for your organisation.

If you or someone you know needs support now, please call Lifeline 24/7 on 13 11 14 or click here to view other support services.