In Australia, more than 2,500 people die each year by suicide. Death by suicide is three times higher in males, which is consistent across every state and territory in Australia. According to research from Suicide Prevention Australia and the University of New England, each suicide death can impact hundreds of people. Their findings also indicated that 85% of their respondents knew someone who had died by suicide.
Each person who is thinking about suicide or has made an attempt is part of a community with friends, family, school friends and workmates. Some people may have a wide support network, while others may be more isolated. Whatever their situation, we all have an important part to play. It is up to us as a community to support people in our lives who are vulnerable. This is what World Suicide Prevention Day is all about.
We need to look out for people who aren’t coping. We can check in with them, ask them how they are doing, listen, and encourage them to tell their story. Asking, listening and taking an interest can go a long way.
People are often scared to ask someone they know if they are OK. A lot of people worry that they will have nothing to say or not know what to do if the person responds that they aren’t doing well. It’s important to remember that there is no one right thing to say to someone. You just need to start a conversation, for example, “I am worried about you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately.” They often aren’t looking for advice; they just want someone to talk to, someone who is compassionate. Let them know that you are there for them.
On World Suicide Prevention Day, join others around the world and take time out to ask someone how they are doing. You can also show your support by attending one of the many awareness raising events in Australia. Find out what’s happening near you.
If you need support, you can speak to one of our counsellors anytime on:
Ask, listen, support, encourage and check in. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2016). Causes of Death, Australia, 2015. Catalogue No. 3303.0.  Maple, M., Kwan, M., Borrowdale, K., Riley, J., Murray, S. & Sanford, R. (2016) ‘The Ripple Effect: Understanding the Exposure and Impact of Suicide in Australia’. Sydney: Suicide Prevention Australia.