Community events have been held throughout Queensland to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.
The theme for the day (officially Sunday, September 10) was “Take a Minute, Change a Life”, aimed at emphasising the importance of having a supportive conversation with someone if you are concerned about their well-being.
The increasing suicide rate is alarming, with latest available statistics revealing that 746 people in Queensland alone took their own lives in 2015.
This was up from 648 suicides in 2014.
The Australia-wide statistic in 2015 was 3027, with an estimated further 65,000 attempts.
Between 2011 and 2015 the average suicide rate in Queensland was 14.1 per 100,000 people (the national average was 11.5 per 100,000).
Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic said World Suicide Prevention Day was an opportunity to reflect on the impact of suicide on our society.
“The primary message for everybody in the broader community is that we all need to be able to have the conversations with the individuals that might be struggling,” he said.
“We need to be able to help them to access the support that they need. We need to be able to have those conversations and act and react … before the individuals in fact reach a crisis.”
Health Minister Cameron Dick said the Queensland Government had set a goal to cut the suicide rate by 50 per cent within 10 years.
“We’ve committed to ensuring that suicide is not a topic that sits in the shadows of conversation. Mental health is not something to be ashamed of,” he said.
“We’ve committed $9.6 million over three years to improve Queensland’s Health’s response to suicide.
“The 2017-18 State Budget has also allocated $140 million in new capital infrastructure to be set aside for mental health – the biggest capital investment in a decade in mental health infrastructure.
“This builds on our $350 million five year plan, Connecting Care to Recovery, to guide the government’s investment in mental health and alcohol and other drug services.”
If you need someone to talk to, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.