SENATOR KATY GALLAGHER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH
SENATOR FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
-MENTAL HEALTH SECTOR CALLS FOR GOVERNMENT TO ADOPT SUICIDE REDUCTION TARGET -
A leading mental health sector organisation has joined the call for the Turnbull Government to adopt a 50% suicide reduction target as recommended by the National Mental Health Commission in its recent expert review of the sector.
Suicide Prevention Australia has released its response to the Government’s mental health reform package and calls repeatedly for a suicide reduction target of 50% over 10 years to be adopted.
On Monday the Chairman of the Lifeline Australia Board, John Brogden also lent his support for a 50% suicide reduction target to be adopted by government.
In the Government’s response to the mental health review, released last month, they failed to respond to the recommendation to set a national suicide reduction target of 50% despite the Labor Party offering bipartisan support for such a target.
Labor is deeply concerned that rather than embrace a 50 per cent target, the Government used yesterday’s mid-year budget update to slash $141m over four years from mental health services.
Every year in Australia around 2,500 people take their own lives through suicide and approximately 65,000 people will attempt to take their life.
Whilst a suicide prevention target cannot on its own prevent tragic and unnecessary loss of life to suicide it would assist to raise awareness of suicide and the services that are there to support people in their time of need.
It would also allow progress to reduce the suicide toll each year to be measured and importantly it would ensure that suicide prevention receives the strongest possible attention from government.
In October this year, Labor accepted the Mental Health Commission’s expert recommendation to adopt a suicide prevention target and indicated that we would initially develop these strategies, in government, through 12 regional targeted suicide prevention initiatives.
Labor joins Suicide Prevention Australia in calling for the Turnbull Government to adopt a suicide prevention target to help ensure that less lives are tragically lost to suicide each year and renews our call for the Government to adopt the 50% target as recommended by the Mental Health Commission.
WEDNESDAY, 16 DECEMBER 2015
** For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit www.lifeline.org.au. Other services includeSuicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 **