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Suicide increase is cause for deep concern

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) causes of death report released this morning paints a sombre picture with Australians taking their lives at an increasing rate. ABS recorded 3027 deaths from suicide in 2015 – 8 deaths each day and a 10-year high.

SANE Australia CEO Jack Heath said the number of people dying from suicide is deeply concerning whatever way you look at it:

  • For the first time more than 3000 Australians died from suicide
  • The suicide rate increased from 12.2 to 12.7 per 100,000 Australians
  • In the last 10 years, rates have never been higher for men aged 15-54 years and men still take their lives at a rate three times that of women
  • In the last 10 years, rates have never been higher for women aged 45-54 years
  • Suicide rates are up in QLD, WA, TAS and ACT, they are steady or have increased slightly in VIC, NSW and NT and have only decreased only in SA

For those 690,000 Australians living with complex mental illness the increase risk of suicide is 10-40 times higher than that for the general population.

'While as a nation we have made real advances in reducing stigma around mild to moderate mental health conditions, there is a huge amount of work to be done to help those at the more severe end of the spectrum,' Mr Heath said.

'Stigma remains a key barrier for people living with complex mental illness to seek the help they need, thereby preventing suicide.

'We are seeing examples of people waiting more than ten years before getting a diagnosis because they don’t feel comfortable or supported to openly discuss what they are experiencing.

'Alongside reducing stigma, we need to ensure people can access quality mental health services when and how they need them. We call for a renewed commitment by Governments and non-profit organisations across the country to do everything we can to reverse this tragic trend of increased rates of suicide.'

A recent international review has shown for people living with schizophrenia, the risk of suicide is 13 times greater than the general population. Those living with bipolar disorder are 17 times more at risk, major depressive disorder 20 times, anorexia 31 times and for Australians with borderline personality disorder, the risk of suicide is 45 times higher.

SANE Media Contact

Ellen Sproule

+ 61 407 367 215
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Last updated: 28 September 2016
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