The World Health Organisation (WHO) define suicide as, ‘the act of deliberately killing oneself. Risk factors include mental disorder (depression, personality disorder, alcohol dependence, or schizophrenia), and some physical illnesses, such as neurological disorders, cancer, and HIV infection. There are effective strategies interventions for the prevention of suicide’ (WHO website, 2014).
WHO recently released a report ‘Preventing suicide: a global imperative’. Read the report here; Preventing Suicide: a global imperative
The report is a first of its kind and aims to increase awareness of the public health significance of suicide and suicide attempts. It also aims to help make suicide a higher priority on the global health agenda, and to encourage and support countries to develop or strengthen comprehensive prevention strategies in a multi-sectoral public health approach. Here is a short clip from their campaign; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZfCbVQbRPs
The report outlines some of the biggest myths surrounding suicide. I noticed two specific myths. Firstly that ‘people who talk about suicide do not mean do it’. However the fact is that ‘people who talk about suicide may be reaching out for help or support. A significant number of people contemplating suicide are experiencing anxiety, depression, and hopelessness and may feel that they have no other option’. Another myth that jumped out at me is that ‘talking about suicide is a bad idea and can be interpreted as encouragement’. The report advises the fact that ‘given the widespread stigma around suicide, most people who are contemplating suicide do not know who to speak to. Rather than encouraging suicidal behaviour talking openly can give individuals other options or the time to rethink his/her decision, thereby preventing suicide’. Precisely what this blog is all about – providing people options to talk about their thoughts and providing them with a sense of support.
So how did Australia fair in this report? Well it seems our men are more likely to commit suicide with 1381 more suicides by men than women in the year 2012. In total, there were 2679 suicides in 2012, which is quite a large number of deaths by suicide for our population. Unfortunately there is no breakdown of Indigenous or non-Indigenous, however there would be no doubt that Indigenous Australians would make up a large number of these deaths.
The aims of the report are to help putting suicide on the global health agenda and hopefully this will lead to more discussions surrounding Indigenous suicide, which as previously mentioned is one of the highest in the world, and needs to addressed immediately.
Additionally, the release of the report ties in with World Suicide Prevention Day, which will be held on Wednesday 10 September 2014. The theme for WSPA is Suicide Prevention: One World Connected. There are many activities happening around the country, check out the WSPA events page on their website for more details; World Suicide Prevention Day
You can also join an online forum on Wednesday 10 September from 11am-12pm (AEST) to discuss what are our strengths and we can do better. Join Mike Munro and a panel of experts, register here – Registration for WSPA Online Forum