A report entitled Before It’s too late: Report on early intervention programs aimed at preventing youth suicide was recently released.
This is an excerpt from that report:
Every year in Australia suicide claims the lives of around 2000 Australians placing it ahead of road traffic accidents and skin cancer as a cause of death. For young people aged 15 to 24, it is the number one cause of death. Despite this, in recent years the issues of mental health and suicide prevention have received comparatively less mainstream policy attention and seemingly less program funding than well resourced and public road safety and sun protection campaigns. The tide is starting to turn. New, strong and ever growing community engagement with these issues now place mental health and suicide prevention firmly on the national policy agenda for political parties of all persuasions who recognise both the complex nature of the issue but also the impact that a single suicide can have on families, communities, schools and workplaces. There has also been a noticeable shift toward more open discussion and debate surrounding the issue of suicide including the role the media play in reporting on the issue; an important conversation to have particularly in the social media era.
Despite the alarming statistics the Inquiry has found some encouraging results to show that the situation can be improved. Evidence presented has suggested that as a result of measures taken by successive Governments, the rate of youth suicide has been in decline since 1997. The Committee’s investigation, which included roundtable discussions with young people and community organisations, focussed on the potential for early intervention programs to further reduce rates of suicide in this age group. These discussions highlighted to the Committee, the important role that young people play in the development of early intervention strategies aimed at assisting their peers. The Committee was impressed by the number of young people who contributed to the work of organisations through volunteering and by holding positions of responsibility.