There is something we can do.

That is the message from Grapevine Group in response to the latest national suicide figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this week.

The figures show suicide is still the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44.

In 2015, for the first time, the number of people who died by suicide was more than 3000. Last year 3,027 people died, compared to 2,864 in 2014.

“That is an increase we need to take notice of,” Grapevine president Laurence Manning said.

“An increase in the national suicide rate also means an increase in the number of bereaved family and friends; as well as a loss of talented Australians.

“One of the first things people ask when they see information like this, or when they themselves are affected by the loss of someone to suicide, is ‘what can we do?’.

“The Mackay community has been proactive in their approach to this issue and already 3,000 people have signed up for the SafeTalk Program .

“We need to maintain – and improve on – that momentum.

“We know SafeTalk saves lives so by taking part in this program, everyone in the Mackay community can feel like there really is something they can do to make a difference and save someone’s life.”

The ABS figures showed:

  • The highest rate reported was men in the 85+ age group with 68 deaths (39.3 per 100,000)
  • There were 1,160 suicide deaths in males aged 30-54, with ages 40-54 all recording an age-specific rate of 30.9 per 100,000
  • The highest age-specific suicide rate reported for females in 2015 was observed in the 45-49 age-group (82 deaths; 10.4 per 100,000)
  • Suicide deaths for females aged 15-19 rose from 5.3 per 100,000 in 2014 (38 deaths) to 7.8 per 100,000 in 2015 (56 deaths)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are twice more likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous people with 152 deaths by suicide in 2015 (110 male, 42 female) an increase from 143 deaths in 2014 (102 male, 41 female)

“This is an issue everyone needs to be aware of; and feel like there is something they can do.

“Parents, teachers, school mates, work mates, employers – and, of course, family and friends – are left to pick up the pieces.

“Instead, by working as a community to prevent suicide we can make a meaningful difference.”

Mr Manning said although not all suicides were preventable, these figures were crucial in the campaign to save lives.

“Knowing this information means we can target high-risk areas with suicide prevention training and it highlights the need for more research to improve mental health outcomes.

“Look at the fact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are twice as likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous people and you can see this clearly needs urgent attention.”

To sign up for SafeTalk go tohttps://www.grapevinegroup.org.au/training.php