“Whilst there is no single cause of suicide and no simple solution to prevent it. There is strong and concerted effort underway to reduce suicide as part of local, state and commonwealth mental health plans” (VicHealth).
- The Victorian suicide prevention framework 2016-2025 commits to halving the suicide rate over the next ten years.
- Under the framework, the Victorian Government will trial two types of suicide prevention initiatives.
- The suicide prevention initiatives will involve health services and local communities to effectively reduce the suicide rate. (VicHealth)
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has just released data confirming that Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia of people between the ages of 15-44.
The alarming facts:
- 71’000 people attempt suicide each year
- 2’866 people died from intentional harm in 2016
- men are 3 times higher than women
- 50 – 54 is the highest suicide rate by age for women
- 30-34 is the highest suicide rate by age for men
- LGBTIQ are 5 times more likely to attempt suicide
- suicide rates are rising
- 2016 there were 10.6 deaths per 1000 people
- 2017 11.4 deaths per 1000 people
- Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders 23.8 deaths per 1000 people
On Monday the 13th of November, I attended the Place-Based Suicide Prevention Conference at Whittlesea. Here for the first time suicide prevention is being tackled as a coordinated effort. The Victorian Primary Health Networks and the Victorian State Government have combined funding to implement a collaborative community response to suicide. Place-based trials will harness local skills, expertise and resources to implement tailored, evidence based interventions in the local community. We heard from the policy makers, the policy writers, those on the ground and those who have experienced suicide personally.
We were there as representatives of Now and Not Yet Community Cafe in Warrandyte. Our piece in the jigsaw puzzle is to provide a safe place of inclusion for our community members. One of the main triggers of suicide is isolation. More and more people are losing connection to community and to self. As a community cafe our aim is to be available seven days a week for anyone who feels alone or isolated.
The goals of the steering and planning team are to:
- support community to value and enact wellness and resilience.
- listen to the lived experience
- provide a coordinated approach, because suicide is everyone’s business.
- halve the suicide rate in Australia by 2025
How can we help?
It is important that we promote wellbeing and resilience. Isolation is the leading cause of suicide, so places of community, acceptance and inclusion are vital. We need to create conditions within the community that create wellbeing.
We need to change the way that suicide is spoken about, understood and prevented.
We need to break the stigma and the stigmatised language.
Everyone should have a self-care plan.
Everyone should have coping strategies: Ask yourself now –
- What three things can I do to relax
- Do I have three professionals or services I can access
Language around Suicide
The way that you talk about suicide can alienate certain members of society. It is important not to sensationalise or glamorise it (PHN Melbourne). Guidelines have changed over the years as has language. This is the latest information from the Suicide Prevention Safe Language Guide.
|Don’t Say||Do say|
|unsuccessful suicide||non fatal – or made an attempt on his life|
|successful suicide||took their own life or died by suicide|
|committed or commit suicide||death by suicide or died by suicide|
|suicide epidemic||concerning rates of suicide or cluster of suicide|
It is not always possible to know if someone is contemplating suicide. They don’t often talk about it. If you think that someone is considering suicide, safety is the first priority.
Make a Safety Plan
To put the part of you that wants to live in charge, it’s helpful to plan how you’ll get through these tough moments (beyond blue).
Tips for creating a suicide safety plan designed by Suicide Line
- Work with a trusted family member or friend, or a professional to develop a suicide safety plan. It is helpful to involve important people around you, as they need to know how best to care for you and keep you safe if you’re feeling suicidal.
- Try to find a time when you’re feeling well, calm and clear-headed, rather than when you’re suicidal or distressed.
- Write your safety plan down and keep it in a place where you can easily find it when you need it.
Your suicide safety plan should include:
- Information about when to use the plan. List the kinds of situations, thoughts, feelings or other warning signs that may lead to you feeling suicidal.
- A list of things that you can do that help you feel calm and comforted. Think of soothing, calming activities that you can employ when you’re feeling suicidal.
- A list of all your reasons for living. It can be helpful to refer to this list when you’re feeling suicidal, as you can lose focus on the positive aspects of your life and concentrate only on the pain you’re experiencing. Your list can remind you of these positives you may have forgotten.
- People you can talk to when you’re feeling suicidal. Include their names and contact details, and make sure you have back ups.
- Professionals who you can talk to if you need to, again including their names and up-to-date contact details.
- A plan of how you can make your environment safe. Think about items you might be likely to use to hurt yourself, and detail how you can remove or secure them. Your plan may also include avoiding things you know make you feel worse.
- Emergency contact details that you can use if you are still feeling unsafe. List the name and address of your nearest emergency department or crisis help line.
- Make a commitment to your safety plan. This means promising yourself that you will implement your plan if you need to. The commitment could also involve promising (out loud) to a family member, friend or professional that you will follow your plan.
If you need Urgent Help Contact: 000 or go immediately to your local doctor or emergency hospital department.
For Help with How you are Feeling.
- Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4436
- Kids Help Line: 1800 55 1800
- headspace: 1800 650 890
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
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