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ABS releases 2018 Causes of Death data

31 Oct 2019

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Causes of Death data released in September showed a slight drop in suicide across Australia, with a slight increase in New South Wales.

Queensland recorded 796 deaths by suicide, down from 804 in 2017.

Men represented 75 per cent of all deaths by suicide, with middle-aged men over-represented in the group.

National response

The Prime Minister’s National Suicide Prevention Adviser, Christine Morgan, has reiterated that suicide is every Australian’s business, and that governments, NGOs, service providers and the community need to work together to reduce the toll.

“This data highlights the need for suicide prevention to be every Australian’s business," Ms Morgan said.

"As a nation, each and every one of us must look out for one another, including ourselves. The Government, service providers and all of us individually play a role in supporting those at risk of suicide and doing what we can to prevent, mitigate and hopefully alleviate the causes of distress.

“One life lost to suicide is too many, which is why our commitment is towards zero.

"On the basis that approximately 135 people are affected by each suicide death, more than 400,000 Australians have been impacted in 2018; as a family member, friend, colleague, teammate, first responder, neighbour or treating professional. Suicide impacts on entire communities with a clear ripple effect.

“The suicide rate for our first Australians remains distressingly high. The rate of death by suicide of Australian and Torres Strait Islander people remains close to twice the rate for non-Indigenous Australians.”

Queensland's suicide prevention response

The Queensland Government published its new suicide prevention plan, Every life: The Queensland Suicide Prevention Plan in September 2019, addressing four fundamental areas: 

  1. Building resilience
  2. Reducing vulnerability
  3. Enhancing responsiveness
  4. Working together.

In addition, the State Budget 2019-20 provided investment of $80.1 million over four years for suicide prevention initiatives, including funding for school-based mental health support, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention initiatives and enhanced crisis care.

This investment includes:

  • $7.5 million for the Beyond Blue Way Back suicide prevention service
  • $10.8 million over four years for Safe Haven Cafes
  • New community-based and peer support alternatives to Emergency Departments
  • An additional $28 million for community mental health support services
  • Community-led suicide prevention initiatives to tackle Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth suicides, and
  • Establishing a more collaborative and integrated system of mental health crisis care in Queensland.

Get the ABS data and read Christine Morgan's statement.

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