Sunday, 21 April 2024

    Suicide ripples destroy lives

    Rod Jackson tried to take his own life, once, ABC News reports.

    Then, while awaiting treatment in the hospital, he could see out to some train tracks.

    He thought about it again, he told Victoria’s Royal Commission into Mental Health on Monday morning.

    “Something in me told me not to,” he told the royal commission.

    Mr Jackson’s story is a happy one — but for the families of several thousand Australians who die by suicide each year, it is not.

    “It is estimated that for every suicide, more than one in 135 people suffer intense grief,” counsel assisting the commission, Lisa Nicholls, told the inquiry.

    “In considering suicide prevention, it’s also important to consider the ripple effect that suicide has on family, friends, colleagues, and the broader community.”

    Multiply that by the 720 Victorians who, according to the state’s suicide register, suicided in 2018, and the number of people grieving grows to 97,200 each year.

    The comments came at the outset of two days of hearings focussed on the royal commission’s biggest objective — reducing the number of suicide deaths.

    Jeremy Dwyer manages Victoria’s suicide register at the state’s Coroners Court.

    Mr Dwyer told the commission his data showed 50 per cent of people who suicided in Victoria between 2009 and 2015 had been in contact with health services for mental health issues in the final six weeks of their lives.

    “I think it means that any improvements in mental health services that emerge from the royal commission’s findings have the real potential to reduce suicide,” he said.

    Victoria’s Government has said it will implement whatever the commission recommends.


    Every suicide death destroys 135 lives with ‘ripple effect’, mental health royal commission hears (ABC News)


    US Air Force / PD