Each year in Australia there are more than 3000 deaths, or around 9 per day, through suicide. These are tough numbers to get our head around, but they are more than just a number.
Each of these deaths represent a person, whether that be a dad, brother, uncle, husband, friend, colleague, boss, mum, aunt, sister, partner, wife, or some other important relationship in our lives.
I mention male descriptors first for a reason, as around three quarters of suicide deaths in Australia are male, although more females attempt. In addition to direct deaths by suicide, there is also a ripple effect for the many more people who are impacted by suicide. Many questions emerge for those bereaved by suicide and these don’t come with easy answers.
But action can be taken to prevent suicide.
I’m proud to work for Lifeline, Australia’s largest suicide prevention organisation that is there for people 24/7, every day of the week. Our purpose is to connect with people, hear their story, listen to their pain, and hear how they are feeling. In doing so, we aim to make sure that no-one has to face their darkest moment alone.
There are more than 3500 generous people, mostly volunteers, who give of their time supporting our national phone, text and chat services which are all now available 24/7 for everyone across the country.
Our aim when people reach out for help and contact Lifeline is to create hope.
Depending on our worldview, hope has many meanings. Generally though, it is about a purposeful future. When people feel suicidal, they often may feel hopeless and a burden to others. They may feel like the future is not worth living for and there is no purpose.
We can do something about this for people who are seeking hope, we can act.
Each year across the globe, we recognise World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) on 10th September which was launched in 2003 as an initiative of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
At its launch, then IASP President, Professor De Leo, announced to all IASP members that “World Suicide Prevention Day aims to put the issue on the agenda globally and regionally, but it also seeks to show that action must be taken locally – and this action starts with you and me”.
Rightly so, there has been a lot of talk, awareness raising and conversations about suicide in recent years and we need this to continue. We need also to couple this with action.
That is why the theme of this year’s WSPD; “Creating Hope Through Action.”
Some practical action you could take to play a role in preventing suicide include:
- Volunteer as a Lifeline Crisis Supporter
- Attend training, such as Lifeline’s Accidental Counsellor
- Open yourself to the experiences of others through listening to Lifeline’s Holding Onto Hope podcast
- Connect with people, and if they are in pain, take the time to sit with them and validate how they are feeling, while at the same time resisting the temptation to ‘fix’ and solve things for them. People who call Lifeline tell us all the time that one of the most important things for them is to feel heard and listened to. You can act simply through listening and being there for people.
By working together as a community, our action may just change a life.
How can you act on this #WSPD2022, and indeed every day, in a way that may create hope for others?
Lifeline is available for all people in Australia 24/7 via phone on 13 11 14, text on 0477 13 11 14 or chat at https://www.lifeline.org.au/crisis-chat/
CEO, Lifeline Direct Limited (LLD)
Incorporating Lifeline services in:
NSW – Bondi, Northern NSW, Newcastle, Hunter, Central Coast & New England
Victoria - Western Melbourne, Geelong, and South-western Victoria