A National Suicide Prevention Strategy to create hope through action

Date published:

WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY 2023

The impact of suicide on our country and society is profound and far-reaching.

Every year, more than 3,000 Australians die by suicide and an estimated 65,000 people attempt to take their own life. This is approximately nine deaths and 180 attempts each day.

Each life lost to suicide is a tragedy for families, friends, and communities. Beyond the human impacts, the economic cost of suicide and self-harm to the economy is estimated to be $30.5 billion each year.

It doesn’t have to be this way. It is possible to prevent suicide.

World Suicide Prevention Day’s theme of ‘Creating Hope Through Action’ is a reminder that there are actions that we can take that may provide hope to those who are feeling overwhelmed.

In line with this theme, the National Suicide Prevention Office (NSPO) is currently developing a National Suicide Prevention Strategy (the Strategy) which will outline what can be done to reduce the number of suicides and suicide attempts in Australia.

Informed by people with lived and living experience, evidence, and best-practice suicide prevention initiatives, the Strategy aims to extend the current efforts, which largely focus on preventing people who are in crisis from taking their own lives, to include efforts that prevent people from reaching the point of suicidal distress in the first place. 

Head of the NSPO, Dr Michael Gardner said:

“Suicide is not just an expression of mental illness, but of the challenges that people deal with every day. These are as diverse as financial stress, homelessness, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, social exclusion, loneliness and addiction.” 

“The Strategy outlines what can be done to address the factors that lead to suicidal distress. It seeks to bolster national wellbeing and ensure that people are not trapped in circumstances that lead to helplessness and hopelessness but have equal opportunity to thrive.”

“But it also aims to ensure that people who are struggling get help as early as possible, have access to effective and compassionate care, and receive support that does not end when moments of crisis pass.”    

Dr Gardner said that preventing suicide is everybody’s responsibility and requires significant collective national effort.

“At its heart, this Strategy will ask Australians for a generosity of spirit. It will ask that governments, agencies, services, communities, and individuals recognise their role in suicide prevention and work together to achieve change.” 

“There is a clear way forward and, while implementing the actions set out in the Strategy will take time and commitment, there is no doubt it will save lives.”

To be a part of this important journey to prevent suicide, please register with the National Suicide Prevention Office so that you can be kept up to date on the work of the NSPO and provide feedback on the draft Strategy when it is released for its final public consultation. https://haveyoursay.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/hub-page/nspo

National Mental Health Commission media contact

Tags:
  • Governance
  • Suicide prevention