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One suicide is one too many

by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow

Eve Barratt, Chief Executive Officer of Lifeline South East addressed the Wattle Range Council meeting on Tuesday 8th April, suggesting that a Suicide Prevention Action Plan be developed in Wattle Range similar to Mt Gambier, Naracoorte and other communities in the South East.

Suicide affect all walks of life and can be contributed to by social issues and genetics and often observers feel powerless to know what to do.

Ms Barrett said there are many services with in the health system but they can be a maze to navigate and people in need can slip through the cracks.  This is where a Suicide Prevention Action Paln can be most helpful she said.

People who suicide are more negative about living than positive about dying, she said.

Often physical pain cannot be cured but can be managed and it is the same with emotional pain, it can be managed. No single entity has all of the skills or all the answers but a combination of services and community can make a difference.

The key number one thing to do before change can occur is to remove the stigma. Replace graphs with stories and statistics with people.

Secrecy can often negatively impact suicide numbers sometimes, confidentiality must be weighed carefully against safety and the latter is always the most important.

Five times more men than women suicide and programs like ‘Mates in Construction’ in the building industry sees men (and women) looking out for each other.

Often an observer can see in the rear view mirror of a situation and remembers the warning signs in someone they knew, signs like  risk taking, giving possessions away, and we often try to jolly people out of the situation but it is not what is happening in their life, but how they feel about it, she told council.

Research shows that addressing suicide as a mental health issue alone has not worked she said.

Greenland has the highest suicide rate with 83 in every 100,000 people, China 27 and Australia 10.6 and rural Australia is 11.9.

Kangaroo Island is 21 and South East SA is 12.7, 1% higher than the Australian average and in the Aboriginal community in SA it is 22.

The number of Australians who suicide, is double the number of people who lose their lives in road accidents.

The plan will take the form of a community committee, but the council will be the suppository for that plan;  this approach has been successful in Mt Gambier, she said. 

Ms Barrett will provide council with Mt Gambier’s Suicide Action Plan to help with the establishment of a similar plan with in the WR council a rea.



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