Australia

'Major wakeup call': Suicide deaths could grow 40 per cent in a decade

PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday March 9, 2015. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire Source: PA Wire

Australia's suicide death rate is on track to grow 40 per cent in a decade as experts say the nation must get better at predicting what causes them.

Suicide deaths are on track to grow 40 per cent in the next decade unless Australia does more to intervene earlier and prevent them, according to a new report.

New research predicts an extra 1,300 suicide deaths a year will occur by 2030 if the worsening rates of the last decade continue.

Suicide Prevention Australia chief executive Nieves Murray said the findings are a "major wakeup call" to look beyond traditional health care responses.

"Australia has a world-class safety net of mental health and suicide prevention services ready and waiting to help," Ms Murray said.

Suicide Prevention Australia chief executive Nieves Murray .
Suicide Prevention Australia chief executive Nieves Murray .
AAP

"The challenge for this decade is preventing the next wave of stressors - whether they be financial, personal or environmental - transforming into a threat to suicide rates in the first place."

On average, six men and two women end their own lives in Australia every day.

Ms Murray said Australia needs to be better at proactively predicting the economic and social risks around the corner, to prevent suicide rates from increasing.

"The time to take action is now - Australia cannot afford another decade of increasing suicide rates," she said.

Ms Murray and Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a Suicide Prevention Australia Breakfast at Parliament House in Canberra.
Ms Murray and Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a Suicide Prevention Australia Breakfast at Parliament House in Canberra.
AAP

The 'Turning Points: Imagine a World Without Suicide' report was released on Tuesday with modelling showing 3,801 a year will die by 2030 on current trajectories.

If the trajectories continue to get worse, that figure will rise to 4,430 deaths.

"We are predicting that the federal government's $15 million investment in improved and coordinated data collection and retrieval will reveal a higher official suicide rate than currently recorded," the report states.

It also found the burden of mortgage debt is leading to mental distress and worsening mental health outcomes, while the gig economy and increased use of contractors was further isolating lonely people.

"An immediate priority for the suicide prevention sector is to investigate and understand how to best support vulnerable people before reaching crisis point," the report said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison launched the report on Tuesday morning.

"As a government, we have set ourselves a very bold goal, a towards zero goal when it comes to suicide prevention - because what other goals could you have?" Mr Morrison said,

"Zero is the only option.

"More than half of all Australian adults personally know someone who has died by suicide... this is a curse as I've described it on our society that reaches into families, it reaches into communities and it's indiscriminate.

"And it causes carnage, hurt, pain, loss, for those left behind."

With AAP...

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