The release today of 2014 Cause of Death data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicates that death by suicide has continued an upward trend and is at the highest rate in ten years.
The data also shows that men account for over three quarters of all deaths by suicide, and that suicide remains the leading cause of death in people aged 15-34, contributing more than a quarter of all deaths in these age groups. For our Indigenous community, the suicide rate is double that of non-Indigenous people.
These issues will be the focus of the National Expert Advisory Group for Suicide Prevention which is being established by the Commission as part of ongoing mental health reform following the Government’s response to the National Review.
The Group will have representation from Government, Indigenous peoples, the suicide prevention sector, experts in suicide prevention, and people with a lived experience of suicide, and be supported by the Commission. It will work to re-focus efforts on suicide prevention across the sector to drive down the suicide rate and the number of suicide attempts each year across all population and groups.
Since 2012, through the National Report Cards on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention the Commission has highlighted the need for further work in suicide prevention and a reduction in deaths from suicide.
In Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities - the National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services – the Commission made a number of recommendations to implement national targets for suicide prevention, along with the trialling of sustainable, comprehensive and whole-of-community approaches to suicide prevention.
While suicide is an issue broader than mental health alone, suicide prevention remains a critically important issue for the Commission, Governments and the community.