Despite the alarming statistics the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing has found some encouraging results to show that the situation can be improved.
Every year in Australia suicide claims the lives of around 2000 Australians placing it ahead of road traffic accidents and skin cancer as a cause of death. For young people aged 15 to 24, it is the number one cause of death. Despite this, in recent years the issues of mental health and suicide prevention have received comparatively less mainstream policy attention and seemingly less program funding than well resourced and public road safety and sun protection campaigns. The tide is starting to turn. New, strong and ever growing community engagement with these issues now place mental health and suicide prevention firmly on the national policy agenda for political parties of all persuasions who recognise both the complex nature of the issue but also the impact that a single suicide can have on families, communities, schools and workplaces. There has also been a noticeable shift toward more open discussion and debate surrounding the issue of suicide including the role the media play in reporting on the issue; an important conversation to have particularly in the social media era.