Data provides hope that we can have a significant impact on suicide prevention

By batyr CEO Sam Refshauge

We love sharing stories of positivity, hope and resilience with you, but today’s release of the ABS Causes of Death data is an important reminder of the massive issue that we are trying to address.

The 2016 data shows a decrease in the total number of deaths by suicide, from 3027 in 2015 to 2,866 in 2016, providing hope that together we can have a significant impact on suicide prevention.

However, whilst we are seeing the first decrease in some years, suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44 and youth aged 20-24 are one of the groups at highest risk.

In the 20-24 age bracket, suicide rates reached record highs with female rates the highest we have seen in 20 years and males; the highest in 13 years. This data highlights the need for a bigger investment, and a whole community approach in prevention efforts, so that young Australians are adequately supported, no matter their location, ethnicity, or social circumstances.

So what can we do about it? How can we create real change? How can we create a culture where young people feel connected and supported? Suicide prevention needs to start early, it needs to be focused around positive stories and behaviours that challenge negative attitudes and stereotypes about mental ill health and suicide and encourage help seeking.

We need to continue to encourage and empower young people to speak up before they reach crisis point and to reach out for support when they are going through tough times.

At batyr we’re lucky to hear stories of hope and resilience every day from young people who have lived with and through mental ill health. We feel that it’s the sharing of these stories that can positively impact these statistics in the future.

It’s on days like today we acknowledge the human lives lost by suicide. Our hearts go out to those who have lost a friend, partner, sibling, child or loved one to suicide and the grief and pain experienced by these people and the community.

For those out there who have been impacted by suicide, or have their own experiences with mental ill health, know that we are here to support you and are committed to doing everything we can to reduce these statistics.

If you are experiencing a rough time, need someone to talk to, or are in a crisis, please reach out to a service below:

For additional services and support see our Get Help page