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Do you want suicide figures published? [With poll]

By johnboy - 28 March 2012 51

The Greens’ Amanda Bresnan is calling for an end to to the Catholic driven taboo on discussing suicide:

ACT Greens Health spokesperson, Amanda Bresnan MLA, will today call on the ACT Legislative Assembly to break the silence on suicide, by having figures on the ACT suicide toll released to the public biannually.

“There is a great deal of stigma when it comes to talking about suicide. Experts such as 2010 Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry and leading community and mental health organisations have long advised that public reporting of suicide should occur. We need to break the silence if we are to ease the suffering of people who confront the issue and save lives,” Ms Bresnan said today.

“Because of the lack of discussion, many in the community are not aware that suicide is the leading killer of our young people. It is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44 and women under the age of 34 in Australia.

“According to the ABS Cause of Deaths report released last week, at least 35 people died in the ACT as a result of intention to self-harm in 2010, and all were aged between 15 and 55. However, suicides are underreported and the figure may be higher.

“I am calling on the Minister for Health to table these figures twice a year in the Assembly, to keep the focus on the issue and encourage discussion. The community needs to be able to talk publicly about suicide.

So what do you think of this proposal deal reader?

Reporting of suicide numbers

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51 Responses to
Do you want suicide figures published? [With poll]
nobody 10:31 am 28 Mar 12

In the recent decade society has taken a great step forward and started openly and honestly talking about depression. This change from the previous silent suffering has made a huge improvement to many people and to their families. People suffering depression are now more likely to say something about their pain to a friend or relative, and more likely to find the assistance they require to get better.

So, I agree, talking more openly and honestly about suicide should also be beneficial to those who think of suicide but are suffering in silence, to friends and families, and to the broader community.

In regards to publishing numbers, talking about the number of road fatalities per year helps raise awareness to the size of this problem, reminds people to take care, and encourages the broader community to try and get this down to the target of zero. So yes, table the figures in the assembly.

buzz819 10:27 am 28 Mar 12

CitizenK said :

Studies have shown that publicising suicide numbers increases the subsequent number of suicide attempts.
I am all for all the appropriate agencies, services, mental health units, community groups knowing all this information – and more, but imagine the Canberra Times (or the tabloids, newspapers and TV shows…) having a tally board on their front page. Suicides to date: Last year to date (a target?)… you think they wouldn’t do this? think again (School and hospital ranking tables etc??)
It is not necessary to hide these figures but please don’t give the poor quality Australian media an opportunity to play games with the numbers.

Sooo… Where are these studies? I’m thinking they are out dated and don’t represent what really happens in society.

Is it like the “old” training Dr’s, Nurses, emergency services, were told they weren’t allowed to ask someone if they wanted to commit suicide as the thought would then be in their mind? That is definitely not the case these days.

p1 10:21 am 28 Mar 12

I am wary of the studies I have seen linking reporting of suicides with increase rates. But I am also wary of extrapolating such studies to cover the specific situation of yearly statistics.

I think the comparison between vehicle death rates and suicides is a very interesting point. Every time four teenagers in a car with “P” plates crashes the tabloids and talkback are awash with calls to end the carnage… There are rarely calls for the same attention to the causes of youth suicide. The difference could well be visibility.

CitizenK 10:20 am 28 Mar 12

Of course no one is ‘talking about’ a tally board on the front page of newspapers – but it would happen. Mark my words.

Tooks said :

CitizenK said :

Studies have shown that publicising suicide numbers increases the subsequent number of suicide attempts.
I am all for all the appropriate agencies, services, mental health units, community groups knowing all this information – and more, but imagine the Canberra Times (or the tabloids, newspapers and TV shows…) having a tally board on their front page. Suicides to date: Last year to date (a target?)… you think they wouldn’t do this? think again (School and hospital ranking tables etc??)
It is not necessary to hide these figures but please don’t give the poor quality Australian media an opportunity to play games with the numbers.

They’re not talking about having a tally board on the front page of the CT, they’re talking about releasing the suicide toll to the public bi-annually. I think this is a good idea.

johnboy 10:17 am 28 Mar 12

Duffbowl said :

JB, why do you say it’s a Catholic (I presume you mean the Church of Rome) driven taboo? Most of the mainstream Christian churches also treat it similarly officially. It’s also forbidden in Islam, and only considered acceptable in Judaism under some circumstances.

Because it’s invariably the catholics who try to have silenced all voices with a view contrary to their own.

And they’re much more vociferous on this issue than any other religion.

urchin 10:17 am 28 Mar 12

CitizenK said :

Studies have shown that publicising suicide numbers increases the subsequent number of suicide attempts.
I am all for all the appropriate agencies, services, mental health units, community groups knowing all this information – and more, but imagine the Canberra Times (or the tabloids, newspapers and TV shows…) having a tally board on their front page. Suicides to date: Last year to date (a target?)… you think they wouldn’t do this? think again (School and hospital ranking tables etc??)
It is not necessary to hide these figures but please don’t give the poor quality Australian media an opportunity to play games with the numbers.

Can you cite some of those studies?

I don’t think a moratorium on reporting suicide statistics exists in most other countries, yet one doesn’t see “tally boards” there either. In general, sweeping problems under the rug is not the best way to deal with them. Letting the catholic church determine policy on public mental health hardly seems wise either. Look at all the good repression has done them…

poetix 10:17 am 28 Mar 12

I think many depressed people think they are freaks, and feel totally isolated in their misery. Oddly enough, hearing an open discussion about suicide (including numbers) may help them realise that they are not alone, or even that unusual.

Merle 10:15 am 28 Mar 12

Without knowing much about the issue I would tentatively support publishing the statistics (numbers only, no details). If it does lead to a spike in suicides, obviously then it would need to be reconsidered.

Thumper 10:14 am 28 Mar 12

I think publishing the figures would be more likely to raise awareness of the real situation rather than the current policy of withholding from the public.

We can’t keep sweeping such a thing under the carpet.

Tooks 10:07 am 28 Mar 12

CitizenK said :

Studies have shown that publicising suicide numbers increases the subsequent number of suicide attempts.
I am all for all the appropriate agencies, services, mental health units, community groups knowing all this information – and more, but imagine the Canberra Times (or the tabloids, newspapers and TV shows…) having a tally board on their front page. Suicides to date: Last year to date (a target?)… you think they wouldn’t do this? think again (School and hospital ranking tables etc??)
It is not necessary to hide these figures but please don’t give the poor quality Australian media an opportunity to play games with the numbers.

They’re not talking about having a tally board on the front page of the CT, they’re talking about releasing the suicide toll to the public bi-annually. I think this is a good idea.

Duffbowl 10:04 am 28 Mar 12

JB, why do you say it’s a Catholic (I presume you mean the Church of Rome) driven taboo? Most of the mainstream Christian churches also treat it similarly officially. It’s also forbidden in Islam, and only considered acceptable in Judaism under some circumstances.

Tooks 10:03 am 28 Mar 12

Myles Peterson said :

Report the stats.

And end the AFP media unit crying “mental health issue” whenever they don’t want something covered.

Most be people would be surprised (, or maybe not,) over how much goes unreported in this creepy, secret-obsessed city.

Show me one AFP media release where they’ve written “mental health issue”. I’m guessing you won’t find any.

I’ve got plenty of tin foil if you need to make a spare hat.

Chop71 10:03 am 28 Mar 12

Well blow me over with a feather …… For the 1st time in my life I agree with the greens.

I must be sick

CitizenK 9:59 am 28 Mar 12

Studies have shown that publicising suicide numbers increases the subsequent number of suicide attempts.
I am all for all the appropriate agencies, services, mental health units, community groups knowing all this information – and more, but imagine the Canberra Times (or the tabloids, newspapers and TV shows…) having a tally board on their front page. Suicides to date: Last year to date (a target?)… you think they wouldn’t do this? think again (School and hospital ranking tables etc??)
It is not necessary to hide these figures but please don’t give the poor quality Australian media an opportunity to play games with the numbers.

Myles Peterson 9:53 am 28 Mar 12

Report the stats.

And end the AFP media unit crying “mental health issue” whenever they don’t want something covered.

Most be people would be surprised (, or maybe not,) over how much goes unreported in this creepy, secret-obsessed city.

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