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  • Suicide and Suicide Prevention in Australia

    Suicide is the leading cause of death for men and women under the age 34 years, the leading cause of death for males aged under the age of 44 years and costs our nation over $17 billion every year yet it is largely hidden….

    BREAKING THE SILENCE

    A Seminal Report from Lifeline Australia

    The Inspire Foundation

    OzHelp Foundation

    Centre for Mental Health Research, ANU

    Suicide Prevention Australia

    The Salvation Army

    Brain and Mind Research Institute

  • Acknowledgements This Report has been initiated by Lifeline Australia and Suicide Prevention Australia. It has been prepared by ConNetica Consulting Pty Ltd for the parties listed here.

    Special thanks to Katrina Clifford, Michael Dudley, Ryan McGlaughlin, Sara Maxwell and Jo Riley (SPA), Dawn O’Neil, Susan Beaton, Bruce Turley and Alan Woodward (Lifeline Australia), Kerry Graham, Jonathon Nicholas and Cheryl Mangan (Inspire Foundation), Alan Staines (Salvation Army), Ian Hickie and Max Bennett (BMRI, University of Sydney), Helen Christensen (Centre for Mental Health Research), Keith Todd (OzHelp Foundation), and Peter Bycroft (Corporate Diagnostics) and many others from supporting organisations, for their invaluable comments and input.

    Prepared by John Mendoza and Sebastian Rosenberg ConNetica Consulting Pty Ltd PO Box 484 Moffat Beach 4551

    With support from Victoria Visser The Science of Knowing Pty Ltd PO Box 272, Buddina 4575

    This Report has been funded by: • Lifeline Australia

    • The Inspire Foundation,

    • OzHelp Foundation

    • Centre for Mental Health Research, ANU

    • Suicide Prevention Australia

    • The Salvation Army

    • Brain and Mind Research Institute.

  • Contents

    3

    Contents Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................................ 2

    Abbreviations ........................................................................................................................................... 7

    List of Figures and Tables .................................................................................................................... 8

    Figures .................................................................................................................................................... 8

    Tables ...................................................................................................................................................... 8

    Preface ......................................................................................................................................................... 9

    Foreword by Professor Patrick McGorry AO ............................................................................. 10

    Executive Summary ............................................................................................................................. 12

    Preventing Suicide ........................................................................................................................... 14

    Ten Priority Actions ........................................................................................................................ 17

    Introduction to Suicide, Attempted Suicide and Self-Inflicted Harm ............................... 20

    Prevalence and Consequences of Suicide .................................................................................... 24

    Suicide Data ........................................................................................................................................ 24

    Suicide as Proportion of Total Deaths ................................................................................. 27

    Locality Data .................................................................................................................................. 27

    Age Specific Rates ........................................................................................................................ 28

    Age-Standardised Rates ............................................................................................................ 28

    Years of Life Lost ......................................................................................................................... 29

    Methods of Suicide ........................................................................................................................... 29

    Self Harm and Suicide Attempts ................................................................................................. 30

    Counting the Cost – Part 1 - the human cost of suicide ..................................................... 32

    Cost the Cost - Part 2 - the economic costs of suicide in Australia ............................... 33

    Why the need for a economic modelling ............................................................................ 33

    What to Include in Estimating the Cost of Suicide. ......................................................... 33

    Other Relevant Australian Cost Analyses .......................................................................... 35

    International literature and potential costing models.................................................. 35

    The Statistical Value of a Life and Most Recent Estimations ...................................... 36

    The Case for Prevention ............................................................................................................ 37

    Past Australian Work ................................................................................................................. 38

    Comparison with Road Deaths ............................................................................................... 39

    An Estimation of the Monetary Cost of Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour ................ 40

    Personal Experiences of Services, Stories of Hope and Survival ........................................ 44

    Introduction ....................................................................................................................................... 44

    In Summary ........................................................................................................................................ 44

    Key Themes ........................................................................................................................................ 46

  • Suicide and Suicide Prevention in Australia: Breaking the Silence

    4

    Suicide can be prevented .......................................................................................................... 46

    The shortage and/or deficiency of professional care for suicidal behaviour ...... 47

    Rural and remote challenges .................................................................................................. 47

    The misunderstanding and stigma associated with suicide ....................................... 47

    Mental illness and suicide ........................................................................................................ 48

    Other contributing and contextual factors ........................................................................ 48

    Family interventions after a suicide ..................................................................................... 49

    Lives changed forever ................................................................................................................ 49

    Five Years on from Not For Service ............................................................................................ 50

    Why People Suicide and Self-Harm ................................................................................................ 54

    Introduction ....................................................................................................................................... 54

    Risk factors, warning signs, precipitating events and imminent risk .......................... 55

    Risk and protective factors ...................................................................................................... 56

    Warning signs for suicide ......................................................................................................... 60

    Precipitating events (“tipping points”) ............................................................................... 61

    Imminent risk................................................................................................................................ 62

    Neurological and Genetic Factors in Suicidality ................................................................... 62

    Mental Illness as a Risk Factor .................................................................................................... 63

    Mental Illness – an overview ................................................................................................... 63

    The relationship between mental illness and suicidality ............................................ 67

    Alcohol and other substance abuse and suicide ................................................................... 71

    Alcohol ...............................................................................................................