RENEWED calls to prioritise a national suicide registry and a more combined government approach to save lives can only help, Ballarat's suicide prevention network chairman says.
Suicide Prevention Australia will call on the Morrison Government on Friday to take a long-term, more holistic view in tackling the root causes of suicide. This comes in response to University of Sydney modelling increase in suicide rates during COVID-19.
The University's Brain and Mind Centre presents a worst case scenario, where unemployment was to peak about 16 per cent, to spark an additional 1500 additional deaths a year.
The federal government's suicide register is due to be ready in 2022 but SPA says this needs to become a much higher priority amid mental health expert fears the suicide rate will soar nationwide amid COVID-19.
Ballarat and District Suicide Prevention Network chairman Des Hudson said anything that could be done and any learnings made to help keep a person safe should be considered.
Police Leading Senior Constable Hudson said lots of funding from state and federal governments had been made to many mental health organisations in response to COVID-19 but it was important to look beyond the pandemic.
"COVID-19 has created situations of stress, isolation, financial hardships, loss of employment, family relationship issues and extra issues for a lot of people - this does not only affect someone with a history of poor mental health," Leading Senior Constable Hudson said.
"For vulnerable people, when a situation is uncertain there can be an anxiety in not knowing this is how long this will last or how this will look like."
Lifeline Ballarat acting training coordinator Belinda Collihole told The Courier last month the coronvirus pandemic and economic crisis was challenging, particularly following a devastating summer for many Australians.
Real-time data for emergency workers, safe space pop-ups for people in crisis to avoid emergency department waits and suicide prevention training for frontline government workers like at Centrelink are also among Suicide Prevention Australia's top priorities.
Suicide rates are difficult for experts to gauge due to a lag of up to two years, usually due to coronial investigation
If you or someone you know is in need of crisis support, phone Lifeline 13 11 14.
Help is also available, but not limited, via the following organisations. The key message is you are not alone.
- Beyond Blue 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au
- Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467
- headspace Ballarat (for 12-25s and parent support): 5304 4777
- Family violence: 1800 RESPECT
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