Senators of from all states, territories and political parties have been urged to come together as one and tackle the national suicide rate that now exceeds 3000 a year and continues to climb.
beyondblue Chairman The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC has written to every Australian Senator asking them to put aside political differences and work together for the Great Social Purpose of reversing the suicide rate.
Mr Kennett was spurred to action following the release last week of the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Causes of Death data that revealed 3027 Australians killed themselves in 2015 at a rate of more than eight a day.
“To me that is a national disgrace,” Mr Kennett said. “Thousands upon thousands of families, friends and work colleagues are left grieving and bereft by these deaths. Nobody is better off when someone takes their own life.
“Worse still, the suicide rate among our First Peoples, our Indigenous community, is twice times that of non-Indigenous Australians. We can’t sit by and allow this to continue.
“Nearly three times as many people died by suicide in 2015 as were killed on the roads. People demonstrated in the streets to bring an end to the decade-long Vietnam War in which 500 Australians lost their lives. We lost six times that many to suicide in 2015 alone.
“We need breakthrough! We need a sense of urgency! We need a new language when talking about suicide. We need a champion – or a team of champions – to take up the advocacy that will start reducing this unacceptable death rate.”
Mr Kennett urged anybody who might be thinking about suicide to get support from their GP or a mental health professional or talk to somebody you trust about how you are feeling.
“It is never too late,” Mr Kennett said. “Suicide is preventable.”
Mental health professions are available at the beyondblue Support Service via phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support for online chat (3PM-12AM AEST) or email responses (within 24 hours).