New Australian Bureau of Statistics causes of death data shows that the suicide rate has increased over the past decade, pointing to the need for evidence-based and compassionate support to care for the mental health and wellbeing of people affected by suicide loss, says Jesuit Social Services.
“There has been an increase in funding for suicide prevention services in the past few years, but it will take some time before the effect of initiatives will begin to show in the national figures,” said Louise Flynn, general manager of Jesuit Social Services’ Support After Suicide program.
“This new data shows that 3200 people took their own lives in 2022. We must continue our efforts to bring about a reduction to these figures that remain unacceptably and distressingly high,” Dr Flynn said.
The ABS figures released last week revealed suicide was the leading cause of death for people aged 15-44 and remained the 15th leading cause of death last year overall. Males accounted for three quarters of all suicides, and, for the first time, the ABS also recorded suicide rates by country of birth, which indicated that those born in Australia had a higher rate of suicide than those born overseas.
Since 2004, Support After Suicide has provided services including counselling, support groups and online resources throughout Melbourne and regional Victoria.
In 2022, it provided direct support to more than 1400 people bereaved by suicide and is one of the few services in Victoria to provide long-term evidence-based support those bereaved by suicide.
Dr Flynn hopes the soon-to-be-released strategies from the National Suicide Prevention Office and Victoria’s Suicide Prevention and Response Office will commit to funding evidence-based services, such as Support After Suicide.
To June 2023, Support After Suicide was funded by the Commonwealth Government through four of the six Victorian primary health networks and has no long-term funding certainty. The program does not receive any Victorian Government funding.
New suicide data shows the ongoing need for specialised bereavement support (Jesuit Social Services)
National FREE 24/7 Crisis Services: • Lifeline 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 www.kidshelpline.com.au • MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78 www.mensline.org.au • Beyond Blue Support Service 1300 22 4636