Lifeline calls for national emergency on suicide
Lifeline Australia Chairman John Brogden has today called for suicide to be declared a national emergency.
In marking ten years since he attempted to take his own life, Mr Brogden highlighted the 23,500 Australians who have died by suicide in that time.
“Every day, seven Australians die by suicide,” Mr Brogden said. “Furthermore, the number of suicides has increased by 20 per cent over the past ten years. What other cause of death would we allow such a significant increase without serious action?
“Over the same period, the number of motor vehicle deaths has reduced by 25 per cent to 1200 each year – less than half the number of deaths by suicide.
“We need urgent action. Suicide must be declared a national emergency.
“Seven Australians take their own lives every day. We should publish the suicide toll the way we publish the road toll. If we don’t talk about suicide we can’t stem the tide and reduce it.
“We have come a very long way in destigmatising and talking openly about depression and other ‘common’ mental illnesses but we still struggle to know how to deal with suicide. This is despite it being the largest single cause of death in Australia for men and women under 44, and our Indigenous People’s suicide rates being amongst the highest in the world.
“It is time to get angry and stay angry until we see suicides drop. The commonwealth, state and territory governments must agree, implement and fund a national suicide strategy as a matter of urgency – the cost of inaction is far too great for our community to bear.”
Lifeline’s 13 11 14 crisis line expects one million calls from Australians in crisis in FY16, more than double the number received five years ago. Every day, the charity’s trained volunteers talk to about 120 callers at a high risk of suicide and, for up to 20 callers, work with emergency services to keep them safe.
For further information, please contact Lifeline Australia's Media Manager on 0408 407 376 or at [email protected].
For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.
NB: Lifeline’s 24/7 telephone crisis support line 13 11 14 is pronounced ‘thirteen eleven fourteen’.