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World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, an annual awareness day to recognise the impact of suicide and how to build more resilient communities across Australia.

The international theme for WSPD 2017 is ‘Take a minute, change a life’, encouraging everyone to take a minute and think about personal attitudes and behaviours around suicide.

New research released today indicates that many Australians have mixed attitudes towards people who die by suicide, and an inaccurate understanding about suicide and its prevention.

headspace CEO Jason Trethowan said the new research highlights some concerns around the stigma and myths associated with suicide, which emphasises the importance of days such as WSPD.

“Through this vital research, Suicide Prevention Australia has drawn attention to this serious topic which we need to be talking about in our communities,” he said.

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“By increasing awareness and educating people, it will help improve every Australian’s understanding of suicide and its prevention. So take a minute to stop and think, and it can change a life.”

Key Survey Findings

Respondents with greater knowledge about suicide prevention had significantly lower levels of stigma. 

Factors associated with suicide literacy
  • Most respondents knew that seeking professional help (67%) or disclosing suicidal thoughts (70%) could be beneficial.
  • Knowledge about risk factors for suicide was generally limited. For example, just 32% realised that there is a strong relationship between alcoholism and suicide, and less than 50% understood that men are more likely to suicide than women.
  • Residents of regional/rural areas had significantly greater knowledge of suicide prevention than those in capital cities. 
Suicide stigma
  • Suicide was frequently attributed to isolation and feeling lost, lonely and disconnected (which is consistent with existing evidence that people who die by suicide often feel isolated). It highlights an opportunity to focus on prevention efforts in relation to increasing inclusion and connectedness.
  • When asked to agree with a range of descriptors associated with people who die by suicide, several stigmatising views were present in this sample including more than a third of respondents selecting “irresponsible.” 

For more visit www.wspd.org.au