*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.
What devastating statistics they are. Even sadder to hear funding is decreasing for vital helplines which are so obviously needed.
Thank you for raising awareness about this x
Such an important issue. Thanks for sharing. I remember hearing that the reason they don’t report suicides or talk about it is fear of sparking other suicides. It’s hard though – if we don’t talk about it how can we prevent it?
A very crucial message but like you say you never really know who is prone to this, sometimes it’s those you least expect it to be! Em – visiting as part of #teamIBOT
When I was 18, I lost three friends within the space of a month – two to suicide and the third as the result of a drink-driving accident. The drink driving story made the papers, meanwhile we were discouraged from talking about the way in which Daisy and Waka died because talking about it ‘might encourage others to attempt it’ – as if suicide is some kind of contagious disease!
That is really sad to read. If someone was encouraged to attempt suicide as a result of peers talking about a friend who had, wouldn’t it mean that it would actually be the perfect opportunity for them (teachers, community etc) to encourage people to talk about it, and to talk about the benefits of talking to someone when you are in need of help. A campaign in which people who knew these girls could relate to the importance of the message. Would that not encourage someone to attempt to seek help!?! Such backward thinking just doesn’t help anyone.
My thoughts exactly Angela – ignoring or hiding something doesn’t make it go away or prevent it from happening again! Not to mention the effect that not being able to grieve openly had on a group of already-vulnerable teenagers.
Wow I had no idea that the funding had been cut so dramatically!
It’s sad that we feel it needs to be hidden. I understand that the media doesn’t want to give people idea’s or make it seem like ‘well they did so I can too,’ but we should be encouraging people to talk about it if they feel this way. And educating people on what to say if someone they know is on the verge of taking their lives. I had a friend call me late last year, and they were ready to end it all, and I had no idea what to say. Thankfully we got through it, but it was scary for me too.
Thanks for raising awareness of this problem. One of my friends committed suicide (second attempt) a few years ago, although she was 39 and not a youngster, but she did leave a husband and baby behind. I wonder if she had asked for help before this and perhaps been turned away. It seems that mental health problems are often swept under the carpet. I think they deserve a higher profile, as they must affect as many people as physical illness.
I was horrified to read some rather graphic descriptions of how Simone Battle died earlier today, why is it that the media is only interested in the salacious details and not the nitty gritty, day-to-day support and resources that can actually make a difference and save lives?
It’s disgraceful. They did the same when Charlotte Dawson and Robin Williams died too. It’s just not needed.
A boy my daughter knows committed suicide over the weekend. No one even had a clue things had gotten to this point with him, he was 19 years old. So tragic and now a whole group of teenagers are trying to come to terms with what has happened and no one can explain it. It’s awful. Something definitely needs to be done especially with the youth of our community.