World Suicide Prevention Day 2010

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. The International Association for Suicide Prevention has a lot of good information on suicide and prevention and a list of activities happening throughout the world, including Australia. There’s also a downloadable activity sheet.

The issue of suicide is very personal to me: like many of us, I’ve lost a loved one to suicide.

For WSPD this year I wanted to post some information about suicide and where to get help.

National Crisis Services
Emergency: 000
Lifeline (telephone crisis counselling): 13 11 14
Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467

Please see the bottom of this post for state-specific resources and for national information lines.

Risk factors for suicide in Australian youth
Being male, living rurally, being Indigenous, non-heterosexual, having a mood disorder, a history of suicide attempts, substance abuse, stressful or traumatic life events, family problems, family history of suicide, easy access to means of suicide, social disengagement, unemployment.

Suicide Myths
1. Talking about suicide will cause suicide. False: Talking openly about suicide can save a life. Sometimes people don’t want to die, but don’t feel they have a choice.

2. People who threaten to commit suicide won’t do it. False: Threatening to commit suicide is not just attention-seeking. It needs to be taken seriously as a cry for help.

3. After an unsuccessful attempt, the danger has passed. False: The danger period is not over. The person needs to be monitored for at least 90 days.

4. Suicide is an impulsive act. False: Not always – sometimes it’s planned for a long time and/or in detail.

5. “Truly” suicidal people have already made up their mind to die. False: some people don’t want to continue living in their current situation but don’t necessarily want to die. Suicide may be seen as the lesser of two evils.

6. A suicide attempt is not serious and the person is just “seeking attention”. False: Take every suicide attempt seriously.

7. If a previously depressed person suddenly seems happy, relieved or upbeat it means that they feel better. False: sometimes the person may seem “happy” or “content” because they’ve made the decision to take their own life as an option to get out of current pain and suffering. Watch for any sudden swings in mood. Also watch for the person giving away personal belongings and putting affairs in order.

8. Suicide is a cowardly act. False: It’s often a desperate act for people who are overwhelmed by their circumstances, who are sometimes not thinking clearly, and who need help.

National Information Services
Beyondblue Info Line: 1300 224 636
MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978
Australian Psychological Society Referral Line: 1800 333 497
SANE Australia: 1800 187 263
Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277
Carers Australia: 1800 242 636

ACT
Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team: 1800 629 354
Gay and Lesbian Telephone Help, Referral and Outreach Bureau (THROB): (02) 6247 2726

NSW
Suicide Prevention and Support: 1300 133 911
Salvation Army Prevention & Crisis Line: 02 9331 2000 (Metro) and 1300 363 622 (Rural)
Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service of NSW: 1800 184 527 or (02) 8594 9596

NT
Mental Health on Call Team: Top End (08) 8999 4988
Mental Health on Call Team: Central Australia (08) 8951 7777
Gay & Bisexual Mens Line Telephone Service: 1800 181 888

QLD
Salvo Crisis Counselling Service: Metro (07) 3831 9016 & Rural 1300 363 622
Gay and Lesbian Welfare Association: 1 800 184 527 or (07) 3017 1717

SA
Mental Health Assessment and Crisis Intervention Service: 13 14 65
Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service of SA: 1 800 182 233 or (08) 8334 1623

TAS
Mental Health Services Helpline: 1800 332 388
Working It Out: http://www.workingitout.org.au/contact.html

VIC
Mental Health Advice Line: 1300 280 737
SuicideLine: 1300 651 251
Gay and Lesbian Switchboard: 1 800 184 527 or (03) 9827 8544

WA
Mental Health Emergency Response Line (Metro): 1300 555 788
Rural Link (Rural): 1800 552 002
Gay and Lesbian Community Services of Western Australia: 1 800 184 527 or (08) 9420 7201
Samaritans Crisis Line: 1800 198 313

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