The latest Australian suicide rates show suicide is a serious concern in our communities. What can you do if you, or someone you know, is struggling?
It can be a difficult conversation but Lifeline Hunter, Central Coast and New England North West CEO Rob Sams says talking about suicide is important.
“Every life lost is a tragedy. We can prevent suicide and better support people who have lost loved ones to suicide if we all work together – families, workplaces and communities.”
Rob shared some facts on suicide and tips on how to support one another.
THE FACTS ON SUICIDE
- 3,249 Australian lives were lost to suicide in 2022 – more than double the lives lost in road accidents.
- On average, nine Australians die by suicide every day.
- It is estimated that more than 65,000 Australians attempt to take their life each year.
- Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15 and 44.
- The ripple effect of a suicide is generally felt by as many as 135 people.
ASK, SIT ALONGSIDE AND LISTEN
While mental health professionals play a vital role, you don’t have to be an expert to support someone who is doing it tough.
For people who are struggling, taking that first step to seek help can be hard and daunting. If you think someone is struggling, be direct in asking them if they are having thoughts of suicide.
If the answer is yes, stay with them and aim to help them get more expert help – perhaps a GP, mental health provider or a call to Lifeline.
Sometimes it is more helpful to not offer advice or solutions. Not all problems can be fixed, or at least not easily. Instead, sit alongside and actively listen.
CALL LIFELINE 24/7
Lifeline has taken more than 23 million calls for support during its 60-year history. Calls are anonymous and confidential. Highly trained volunteer crisis supporters are there to listen without judgement and to offer hope.
Lifeline has expanded the ways people can talk to crisis supporters.
- Phone: 13 11 14
- Text: 0477 13 11 14
- Chat online: www.lifeline.org.au
NOT READY TO TALK?
If you or someone else in crisis isn’t ready to talk or prefer to manage things themselves first, Lifeline has a new online Support Toolkit. It has practical, plain language information and tools to help people build their resilience and wellbeing. The toolkit also helps people understand and support a friend or family member in distress while looking after themselves along the way.
Access help on your own terms at lifeline.org.au/toolkit
GET SOME COUNSELLING
In some areas, such as the Central Coast, Hunter and New England North West, Lifeline offers free face to face or video counselling for people needing to work through any personal issues.
DO SOME TRAINING
If you want to feel more equipped to identify if someone is struggling or at risk of suicide and how to safely support them, Lifeline and other services offer inexpensive community and workplace training.
Courses take from just two and a half hours to two days. It is a great investment in your own self development and building the capacity of your community or workplace to help others.
HELP LIFELINE HELP OTHERS
Make a tax deductible donation to your local Lifeline Centre. You can also sponsor Lifeline events or host a fundraising event.
Shopping in Lifeline op shops doesn’t just score you a bargain and help the environment. All profits from the shops go directly to running the 13 11 14 service and other local Lifeline suicide prevention and bereavement support groups.
Volunteering to be a crisis supporter on 13 11 14 or at a Lifeline shop means Lifeline can spend more of the funds it raises helping people.
For information about local Lifeline services search online for your nearest centre or call 1300 152 854.
If this story causes issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the 13YARN national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander crisis line on 13 92 76.