80 per cent of Australians want a National Suicide Prevention Plan
With research released today showing that more than 80 per cent of Australians support the development of a National Suicide Prevention Plan, Lifeline is writing to every Health Minister across the country to urge for a coordinated approach to Australia’s suicide emergency.
The national charity’s CEO Pete Shmigel said that the study – undertaken by leading market research firm Crosby|Textor – includes compelling data that highlights flaws in current responses to suicide and demonstrates community support for change.
“We have seen national suicide prevention plans implemented in up to 30 countries around the world and know the lifesaving potential of a coordinated approach to initiatives like suicide hotspots, follow up support and digital services,” Mr Shmigel said. “Between 2002 and 2013, for example, Scotland’s 10-year plan achieved an 18 per cent reduction in suicides. Over the same period, Australia saw a 20 per cent increase.”
This international evidence has already prompted Suicide Prevention Australia to bring together Lifeline and others in the field to identify outcomes, milestones and investment drivers needed for a National Suicide Prevention Plan.
“What we need now is Federal, State and Territory Government leadership to guide service delivery at the local level, including through Primary Health Networks who have been actively seeking such support, helping the sector take steps together towards an Australia free of suicide.”
Key findings from the study include:
- 81% of respondents support the development of a National Suicide Prevention Plan
- 91% of respondents believe we should be looking at social factors that cause suicide, such as loneliness, unemployment, relationship breakdown, and not just the outcome
- 86% of respondents believe that, If suicide prevention strategies are working overseas, they should be used in Australia too
- 83% of respondents believe that, if new technologies have the potential to reduce suicide, governments should invest in them
- 84% of respondents believe suicide can be an outcome of increased isolation and loneliness in society
- 36% of respondents believe suicide is solely a mental health issue
“This study shows that Australians understand the need for new thinking and new solutions to the current suicide emergency, including a focus on social factors like relationship breakdown, loneliness and unemployment,” Mr Shmigel said.
“This means building on what works, both nationally and internationally, to have the greatest collective impact with our sector’s limited resources. While we have great programs, sound research and numerous experts, suicide has climbed to 10-year-plus high levels and continues to cause immeasurable heartache for families and whole communities.”
Lifeline believes the strategies recommended in the WHO Report on Suicide (2014) provide an evidence base and appropriate framework for the proposed plan.
For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp
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