The release of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Causes of Death recently has shown that suicide rates have started to fall – 2,866 deaths by suicide in 2016 compared to 3,027 in 2015. Demand for Lifeline services remains high. Locally, Lifeline South Coast answered 22,179 calls during 2016 – 18,630 of those calls specifically discussed suicide.
Grahame Gould, Executive Director Lifeline South Coast, says the release of these 2016 figures remains heartbreaking for so many Australians who have lost someone to suicide.
“Any life lost to suicide is terrible. It’s promising to see the overall rate drop, while the number of calls our Volunteer Crisis Supporters are answering is rising. And while that’s tough, it is also a good thing! It means that more people are seeking help, more people are talking about their concerns, and more people are calling Lifeline for help,” Mr Gould said.
The 24-hour telephone crisis support service is the central part of what we do. But now, we are looking at new ways of working within the Illawarra and South Coast communities to help more and more people become suicide aware. Lifeline South Coast is a member of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative which is coordinating the local implementation of Lifespan, an evidence-based, integrated approach to suicide prevention.
Dr Alex Hains, Regional Manager of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative, says it’s positive to see more than 30 local organisations working together to implement the Lifespan framework. Based on international estimates, Lifespan has the potential to reduce suicide deaths by 20% and suicide attempts by 30%.
“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 available from the Collaborative website for just $10, which will help you recognise warning signs for suicide and help others in need,” said Dr Hains.
Lifeline South Coast also has a range of community suicide prevention training options available from their website for people to participate it.
The important message to remember is we all have a role to play in suicide prevention. Grahame Gould would like everyone to remember a couple of easy steps:
- Be a positive role model – look after yourself and encourage others to do the same
- If you are worried that someone might be considering suicide – ask to show you care
- Listen to what they say and encourage them to seek help
- Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for support
Suicide can affect anyone. Take action now and learn what to do if someone you know is considering suicide. We all have a role to play in reducing the number of lives lost to suicide.
To view the ABS Causes of Death 2016 data, click here
If you are feeling distressed and need immediate assistance, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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