Suicide a tragic consequence of a failing mental health system

Systemic reform of the mental health system is the best way to prevent suicide, according to Mental Health Australia.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, highlighting the need for governments and the community to change the way we deal with mental illness.

The call follows the release of a global report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on suicide and the National Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s response to it. The response can be found here.

“Suicide is too often the acute consequence of mental illness,” Mental Health Australia CEO, Frank Quinlan said. “People who are suicidal usually don’t want to die; they want to escape unbearable pain.”

“Suicide can be prevented - but the current mental health system needs to be refashioned to prioritise prevention and to provide an immediate and appropriate response for those in crisis.

“The findings of this report highlight the need for fundamental reform of our entire mental health system to help reduce the high rate of suicide and stop people reaching this crisis point in the first place.”

The sector’s response to the WHO report calls for:

  • A national public health strategy for suicide prevention
  • Diversity in our approach, not a one size fits all solution
  • Timely accurate data about suicide and suicide attempts
  • Robust evidence about what works to prevent suicide and what doesn’t
  • Amplification of the voices of lived experience
  • The need for all this to happen as a matter of urgency.

Mental Health Australia is the peak body representing the mental health sector.

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