Greens back targets and a new approach to suicide prevention

Hear more from the Greens in the Huffington Post coverage of this story.

The Greens have backed Suicide Prevention Australia’s call to reduce the suicide rate by 50 per cent by 2025. The number of confirmed suicides in Canberra increased from 24 in 2012 to 37 in 2013, but service providers believe the number has continued to increase in 2014 and 2015.

“Right now seven Australians die from suicide every day. That means devastatingly, many Canberrans will have been touched directly or indirectly by the tragedy of suicide,” said the ACT Greens health spokesperson Indra Esguerra.

“That's why we're backing calls for suicide prevention targets. Setting targets is about putting the community first, acknowledging that suicide is a health issue that we can – and must – address, and investing in mental health services.

“We have targets for reducing road deaths and other preventable health issues. Let’s do the same for reducing suicide.”

As part of the announcement, the Greens have committed $100,000 for the development and implementation of new targeted health education activities.

“We know that preventative programs work. This commitment should be seen as an investment, not a cost,” said Ms Esguerra.

“The only way to succeed in reducing suicide rates is to commit to clear targets, collect the evidence we need and back up this work with funding to reduce stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness,” Ms Esguerra said.

The ACT Greens plan for suicide prevention includes:
- Setting a target to reduce suicide by 50% by 2025, in line with calls from Suicide Prevention Australia.
- Establishing a Suicide Expert Committee, along the lines of the Child Death Review Committee, to properly examine suicides in the ACT and make policy recommendations to ACT Government to help us better respond to and prevent suicide.
- Advocating for the creation of a national suicide register through representation at the Ministerial Council level, and the development of improved suicide prevention campaigns relevant to the ACT community.
- Enhancing anti-stigma and health promotions strategies to challenge the ongoing misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the lived experience of mental illness- particularly in relation to at risk groups, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, LGBTI and CALD communities.

The Greens have also announced a commitment to provide $4 million to increase mental health and counselling support to all Canberra students.

Click here to download the initiative.