One in four Australians affected by suicide during pandemic


r u ok day suicide prevention australia statistics mental health covid-19 pandemic
Image: R U OK?

Around 5 million Australians know someone who has died by suicide during the past 12 months of the pandemic, new research has found.

The findings from new Suicide Prevention Australia research, officially released on Friday (September 10), which is World Suicide Prevention Day.

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In the past 12 months, one in four (25%) Australians say they know someone in their personal life or networks who has died by or attempted suicide either directly (15%) or indirectly (11%).

Twenty-seven percent of Australians also say they’ve sought help or searched for advice from a suicide prevention service in the past 12 months.

Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray said Australia needs a national suicide prevention act to focus every government department on the issue.

Suicide prevention “isn’t limited to health portfolios,” she said.

“Housing is suicide prevention, employment is suicide prevention,” she said.

“Finance is suicide prevention, and education is suicide prevention.

“We know social and economic isolation are the biggest drivers of suicide rates.

“COVID-19 has seen Australians subject to 18 months of rolling lockdowns and disruption to their personal lives, employment and businesses.”

Today is R U OK Day, and it’s more important than ever

Today is R U OK Day, the annual reminder for Australians to start conversations with each other that could save a life.

The team from suicide prevention R U OK? are urging Aussies to ask people if they “really” are okay today. The pandemic had made that question “more important than ever”.

“Don’t wait until someone is visibly distressed or in crisis before you ask,” R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton said.

“If you ask them in a genuine way, your support can make a difference whatever they are facing.

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“The ups and downs of life can affect each of us differently.

“Sometimes it won’t be obvious that someone is struggling.

“But having the support of family, friends and close colleagues can help us better navigate the challenges that come our way.

“In a time when so many of us are feeling fatigued by the pandemic, we want to remind and reassure Australians that there is something we can all do to support those in our world.

“As those closest to them, we are often in a position to do so.”

Tips and strategies for mental health

The R U OK? website has a lot of tips on how to help others if they tell you they’re struggling, or if you need support yourself.

Beyond Blue has a 24-hour Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service. Call 1800 512 348 for tips and support from counsellors as well as referrals to other services if needed.

If you need support, help is available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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