Wake Up Call for Australia on Suicide
Release Date: 30 May 2012
With an estimated 65,000 people attempting suicide per annum in Australia and an expert review highlighting the extraordinary cost of mental illness in men - the time for action on suicide prevention is now.
Lifeline and other experts have been beating the drum for awareness, and attention, on suicide prevention for decades. In light of the recent expert findings, the problem can no longer be ignored, underfunded and put out of mind.
Almost every individual knows the perils of speeding on our roads or the ill effects of substance abuse. It’s time to put the spotlight on the preventable tragedy of suicide. We know that the between 1,800 and 2,500 people die from suicide each year in Australia, notwithstanding an estimated 20%-30% underreporting for various reasons including differing reporting protocols between states.
A joint report by Inspire and Ernst & Young makes the case that the human and economic cost of mental illness in Australia, including suicide, can no longer be ignored.
Counting the Cost: The Impact of Young Men’s Mental Health on the Australian Economy reports that mental illness in young men aged 12-25 costs the Australian economy $3.27 billion per annum in lost productivity. The Federal Government bears 31% of this cost directly through health, welfare and other costs. Overall, 9 million working days per annum are lost to young men with mental illness.
The report also highlights the tragedy that suicide continues to be the leading cause of death for young men in Australia, accounting for 22% of all deaths.
This builds on a collaborative submission to a Senate Inquiry into Suicide in Australia via the Suicide and Suicide Prevention: Breaking the Silence report in 2010. Data from this report reveals that a conservative estimate puts the economic cost of suicide at $17.5 billion per year, which equates to $795 per person annually.
A big part of the tragedy of suicide is the lack of recognition of the problem by the community, workplaces, governments and the media and it usually takes a stark economic analysis to generate serious attention. However, there’s no accounting for the social, or human, cost of suicide, where grief and trauma can have long term and devastating effects on individuals and communities.
And most importantly, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or are in a time of crisis, help is closer than you think.
Please pick up the phone, dial 13 11 14; it could be the most important decision of your life.
For further information please contact:
Contact: John Mendal, Lifeline Australia
Phone: 02 6215 9442 or 0408 407 376