*The following post discusses suicide and self harm. Please make sure you are feeling safe before continuing. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or self harm please contact a health professional. The number for Lifeline is 13 11 14*
At the moment you would be forgiven for thinking that the leading killer of young people is smoking, alcohol or driving related deaths. However this couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes all of these things impact our youth but they are not the number one killer of people aged 15-25. The real truth isn’t being talked about anywhere near as much as it should be.
In a report compiled by the National Children’s Commission it has been discovered that for the first time youth suicide rates have overtaken all other leading causes of death in people aged 15-24.
So if Suicide is now the leading cause of death of young people, where are all of the suicide prevention campaigns? Where are the television advertisements urging people to speak up about their struggles? Where are the celebrities speaking out against these devastating statistics?
Suicide is not something that is just affecting the youth though. Statistics released in March of this year showed that 1,901 men and 634 women committed suicide in the year 2012. That is an average of 7 people EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It is thought that more than double this number attempt to take their own lives every day.
So what can we do about it?
Did you know that due to a decreased amount of funding, the suicide and mental health support hotlines such as Kids Help Line, Lifeline and Beyond Blue are having to cut back on the amount of support they can offer the vulnerable people in our society. Kids Helpline has revealed that last year 40% of the calls received (that’s 156,000 just to put in perspective just how many calls they receive each year) went unanswered. They are all calling out for donations, they rely on the generosity of the public to continue to prove their service.
Write to your local MP urging them to speak up about the lack of funding being directed to programs that help prevent suicide. The waiting times to be able to see a mental health professional are ridiculous and often private practitioners fees are out of reach for many people. There needs to be an increase in subsidies for people to be able to visit a mental health professional. The current 10 sessions per year is not enough.
Talk to your friends. If you haven’t heard from a friend in a while, drop them a line and ask them how they are doing. Be prepared to listen to their answer. Urge them to seek professional help if things haven’t being going well. Offer support but be sure to take care of your own mental health too.
Speak up. The more people we have talking about their experiences, the sooner we can hopefully see a change in the stigma of suicide. Feeling suicidal is nothing to be ashamed of. Please tell someone, keep telling people until they listen.
Linking up with Jess for IBOT.