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September 25, 2021

Regional communities hardest hit by suicide

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Yesterday social media platforms were struggling to remove footage of a man who live-streamed his suicide, while across the globe parents, teachers and caregivers scrambled to protect children from inadvertently viewing the clip which trolls had reproduced several times.

This type of tragedy seems to be becoming a regular part of our social landscape and regional Australians impacted by suicide are more likely to experience multiple loses of family, friends and community members (67 per cent) compared to their city counterparts (60 per cent) – new research has revealed for the first time.

It comes as the findings also show growing concerns the economy, jobs (+7 per cent), cost of living (+4 per cent) and drugs and alcohol use (+5 per cent) will increase suicide rates in the regions in the wake of COVID-19.  

National peak body, Suicide Prevention Australia, yesterday released the regional-specific results in the lead up to World Suicide Prevention Day tomorrow, Thursday, September 10.

Over four million regional Australians impacted by suicide

Suicide Prevention Australi CEO Nieves Murray said over four million regional Australians had been personally impacted by suicide, with 66 per cent of those living outside city limits supporting the Federal Government introducing a standalone National Suicide Prevention Act that takes a whole of government, not just mental health, approach.

‘I live in our regions and you only have to look around and see that global disasters like COVID-19 hit our local economies, communities and services harder and faster than our capital cities,’ said Ms Murray.

‘The better we can proactively predict what economic and social risks are facing our regional and rural communities, the better we can prepare Australians and prevent suicide rates increasing.

‘International evidence shows the best way to achieve this is through a standalone National Suicide Prevention Act that embeds a whole of government, not just a mental health, response.’

In some encouraging news, Ms Murray said a third (30 per cent) of regional Australians had accessed a suicide prevention service – either on their behalf or someone else – the same rate as their city counterparts.  

The regional results are from an exclusive YouGov poll of over 1000 Australians commissioned by Suicide Prevention Australia as part of World Suicide Prevention Day 2020.  

‘In shining a light on suicide prevention, it’s important to not only help those in need, but also support Australians to know what to say beyond RUOK?’ Ms Murray said.

Threats to Suicide: Regional (2020, increase since 2019) vs City (2020, Increase since 2019):

  1. Cost of Living/Personal Debt: Regional (68 per cent, +4 per cent) vs City (61 per cent, -1 per cent)
  2. Economy/Jobs: Regional (55 per cent, +7 per cent) vs City (57 per cent, +4 per cent)
  3. Drugs/Alcohol: Regional (72 per cent, +5 per cent) vs City (64 per cent, +0 per cent)
  4. Social Isolation/Loneliness: Regional (66 per cent, +6 per cent) vs City (66 per cent, +3 per cent)
  5. Family/Relationships: Regional (58 per cent, +8 per cent) vs City (53 per cent, +5 per cent) 

Suicide statistics

3000+ deaths due to suicide in 2018 (3,046)

8+ deaths each day by suicide in Australia on average (8.4)

6.4 males per day

2 females per day

75 per cent of suicide deaths were men in Australia (2,320)

65,000 suicide attempts each year (est.)

Each year, around 100,000 Australians attempt suicide and it is estimated that more than 500,000 Australians have attempted suicide at some time in their life.

2x: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had a rate of suicide approximately twice that of non-Indigenous people in Australia.

To get help 24/7, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, phone 000 for emergency services.

Help to report about suicide safely is available online: Go to www.mindframe-media.info


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1 COMMENT

  1. Almost too difficult to deal with. With so many believing that
    there is really no way of turning life around in the current
    decade we must admit that people are so ‘out of step’ with
    each other, family, the planet & government, it’s near on
    hopeless. Add to that the cost of living – low wages & a
    pandemic – trouble’s our middle name – regardless of age.
    Reality breeds contempt. Look to the 2nd last decade &
    the aloneness it served up. Smart phones replaced real
    people while twitter & CO replaced mate-ship. We forgot
    how to communicate with others while they faced the
    very same misunderstanding. Twitter ‘friends’ are not
    friends – they’re ‘pretend’. Pretense rules & ruins lives.
    Ring Lifeline. Accept their offer of help. Real people
    have the heart & time to actually speak to you – &
    what’s more, they will listen.

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