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Suicide prevention a key priority for Mental Health Commission

13 Jan 2014

Initiatives to address the suicide rate amongst Queensland children and young people are a key priority for the Mental Health Commission.

Figures released today show a gradual increase in the youth suicide rate since 2004.

Mental Health Commissioner Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck said the rise in youth suicide should be a concern to all Queenslanders.

“Our sons and daughters, our grandchildren and their friends deserve the right support when they most need it so suicide simply isn’t an option for them,” she said.

Last year, 22 young people died by suicide before their 18th birthday.  This is a steady rise from 15 in 2004 and sadly most of this increase comes from more deaths of children under 15.

Dr van Schoubroeck said coordinating the Queensland Government’s suicide prevention agenda was a key priority.

Major activities undertaken by the Commission in its first six months include:

  •  funding clinical positions to improve the detection, assessment and appropriate management of people at risk of suicide
  •  supporting child and youth mental health sectors, as well as the education and primary health care sectors, to improve the early identification and treatment of mental disorders and suicide risk affecting school-aged children and young people
  •  funding the Australian Institute of Suicide Research and Prevention to maintain and report on the Queensland Suicide Register
  •  convening the Queensland Advisory Group on Suicide to improve the early detection and communication of systemic trends and hotspots identified in Queensland suicide mortality data
  •  funding beyondblue to support a range of community awareness, education and stigma reduction activities.

Dr van Schoubroeck said recent consultation to develop Queensland’s Mental Health and Drug Strategic Plan, scheduled to be released in June, had identified a range of new initiatives that would inform a renewed approach for suicide prevention. As part of this, work will commence shortly to identify barriers to accessing mental health services in rural and remote Queensland.

The report on the prevalence of youth suicide in Queensland is available from