Let’s talk about suicide prevention

Every one of us can share a story about suicide – most of us know of a family member, school buddy or friend who has tragically taken their own life, or attempted to. Often, the signs are subtle and we wonder if we could have noticed that something was not quite right earlier.

Recently I attended an intensive Suicide Talk program, hosted by Julian Lesser, Member for Berowra, and learned that Australia’s suicide rate is alarmingly high. In 2015, 3027 people ended their own lives – or more than eight people each day.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that suicide was the leading cause of death among people 15-44 years of age, and the second leading cause of death among those aged 45-54. According to Lifeline, more than 60 per cent of Australians feel lonely.

I believe we can all help in the prevention of suicide and as a community, I am encouraged that we are learning more about how we can act to urge people to seek help.

We all have a role to play in taking people seriously when they experience suicidal thoughts. We must change the way we view this behaviour. Let’s see people as genuinely ‘attention needing’ rather than ‘attention seeking’. Let’s ensure we give people the attention they need.

In the workshop we discussed the concept of ‘TALK’, which means – TELL someone you trust, ASK about symptoms of suicide, LISTEN for links between mental wellbeing and suicide and KEEP SAFE until further support is available.

I was incredibly moved by the stories I heard and I’m grateful for the tools I have been provided. Suicide has far-reaching effects on everyone who has been touched by it, and there is so much more we can do to ensure we support a suicide-safer community in the Hills.

If you or someone you know needs help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Young people can call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Headspace on 1800 650 890. For further information about depression contact beyondBlue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP or health professional.