OUR SAY: The issue that can’t be ignored

IF THE issues of mental health and suicide aren't prominent during this year's federal election then we should hang our heads in shame.

The election looks like it might come along sooner rather than later, and it seems the politicians would like to make it all about negative gearing and union oversight.

Both here in the Clarence Valley and nationally, we need to change that. The election needs to be conducted on our terms, with the issues we want at centre stage.

And with figures released this week showing 2864 people nationally took their own lives in 2014, is there any more important issue?

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If that number was the national road toll (which last year was 1206) there would be politicians everywhere calling for action.

Suicide may be much more difficult to confront and address, but it is no less tragic and in no less need of action.

We simply can't accept the deaths of nearly 3000 Australians without saying this carnage must stop.

Right now the Clarence Valley as a community is feeling the pain of suicide like never before, and that should motivate us to take action to get more help for those who need it.

During the election campaign we must make sure Kevin Hogan and Janelle Saffin, as well as Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten, confront the tragedy in our midst and commit to action.

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