Add your name to petition for more suicide support
THE push to do something about Australia's tragic suicide figures is stepping up, with Lifeline launching an online campaign seeking a million signatures calling on the Federal Government to double funding to suicide prevention.
The petition follows the release of Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data showing that 2864 people took their own lives in 2014 - almost 8 per day - which is an increase of almost 13.5 per cent from 2013.
Lifeline North Coast CEO Allister Donald called on the local region to get behind the campaign, stating the importance of a whole-of-community approach to suicide prevention.
"It needs to be remembered that these are the official 2014 statistics - the latest available," he said.
"We are currently nearly two years down the track from these latest figures, and there is no indication that this trend will be any less when the 2016 figures are released in 2018.
"How many more lives and how much more time must be lost in the intervening period?"
Mr Donald said suicide prevention funding from federal government was helpful but woefully inadequate given the stats showing a national emergency.
"Community organisations such as Lifeline are struggling financially to provide adequate suicide prevention services - its like having one hand tied behind their backs, and in regional areas especially so," he said.
"What these statistics are telling us is that many young people of today suffering from depression will be the potential statistics of tomorrow as they grow older if something is not done quickly, so quite apart from acknowledging the variety of age groups covered there is already an imperative need to reach young people early.
"What is needed is a sensible collective "whole of community " approach to the problem - involving, for example, the hospitals, the prisons, the schools , local councils, police, justice, the medical profession, apart from the mental health service providers."
Lifeline Australia CEO Pete Shmigel said that it is time for the Federal Government to provide adequate funding to support lifesaving services, research and initiatives taking place across the sector.
"We know the profound impact that suicide can have on individuals, families, friends and whole communities," Mr Shmigel said.
"In seeking a million signatures through this campaign, we want to empower everyday Australians to join together and take important steps towards the goal of stopping suicides.
"The number deaths by suicide is more than double the road toll, and yet government funding for road safety is double that for suicide prevention.
"Furthermore, while we have seen a 25 per cent decrease in the number of motor vehicle deaths over the past 10 years, the number of suicides has increased significantly in this time."
Mr Shmigel also said that while Lifeline will receive more than a million calls to its 13 11 14 crisis line this year, the national charity does not have the resources to answer every call immediately.
For crisis or suicide prevention support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au/gethelp.