Rural suicide

Mental health experts want federal election candidates to support suicide prevention trials in regional Australia after releasing a report revealing suicide rates exceeded road fatalities in 28 electorates audited between 2009 and 2012.

Ian Hickie from the University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Centre said leading mental health advocates want candidates to commit to a national suicide prevention program and support a suicide prevention trial in 12 regions.

"It's really the rural and regional areas that suffer the most," said Professor Hickie, who noted that economic impacts such as the mining downturn, drought, and the closure of regional industries were major risk factors.

"They're the areas in which we see high suicide rates two to three times the national average and we need focused intensive activity in those communities."

The audit of 28 electorates shows suicide rates exceeded the road toll in every electorate surveyed, while 23 of the 28 seats had high to extremely high suicide rates.

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