SENATOR KATY GALLAGHER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH
SENATOR FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
- AUSTRALIA NEEDS A SUICIDE REDUCTION TARGET -
Every year its estimated that 65,000 people will attempt suicide and 2500 people will lose their life to suicide but the government has chosen to ignore this shocking statistic and has left a suicide reduction target out of its planned reforms to the mental health sector.
These figures translate into seven people losing their life to suicide every single day and the annual suicide toll is now more than twice the annual road toll. It is time for a serious response from government.
Last year the national mental health commission recommended to the Health Minister Sussan Ley that Australia should adopt a 50% suicide reduction target over the next 10 years. This is something that Labor supports.
Without any explanation the government rejected the 50% suicide reduction target in their response to the mental health commission review, last month.
A suicide reduction target was one of the nine key strategic directions and recommendations of the commissions review. Their recommendation included the need for a long term target of 50%, shorter term targets of 40% including a reduction of 40% in the numbers of those attempting suicide.
We cannot simply allow 2500 Australians to continue to lose their life to suicide every year.
The suicide toll is our shared problem and we should work together to reduce it.
The government should reconsider its decision to reject a suicide reduction target. If there is no target there is no way to measure the programs that seek to reduce it.
Labor agreed in October this year to support the recommended 50% suicide reduction target over 10 years.
Labors policy would include 12 regional initiatives - including six urban, four regional and two remote as the first stage of the whole of system approach to suicide prevention.
A 50% suicide reduction target is needed and the Australian Government should be working hard to reduce the 2500 lives that are lost each year, especially when many of them could be prevented.
MONDAY, 14 DECEMBER 2015